Functional characterisation of two Δ12-desaturases demonstrates targeted production of linoleic acid as pheromone precursor in Nasonia

Florian Semmelmann, Naoki Kabeya, Miriama Malcicka, Astrid Bruckmann, Bastian Broschwitz, Kristina Straub, Rainer Merkl, Oscar Monroig, Reinhard Sterner, Joachim Ruther, Jacintha Ellers

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Insect pheromones are often derived from fatty acid metabolism. Fatty acid desaturases, enzymes introducing double bonds into fatty acids, are crucial for the biosynthesis of these chemical signals. Δ12-desaturases catalyse the biosynthesis of linoleic acid by introducing a second double bond into oleic acid, but have been identified in only a few animal species. Here, we report the functional characterisation of two Δ12-desaturases, Nvit_D12a and Nvit_D12b, from the parasitic wasp Nasonia vitripennis. We demonstrate that Nvit_D12a is expressed in the rectal vesicle of males where they produce a linoleic acid-derived sex pheromone to attract virgin females. 13C-labelling experiments with Urolepis rufipes, a closely related species belonging to the 'Nasonia group', revealed that females, but not males, are able to synthesise linoleic acid. U. rufipes males produce an isoprenoid sex pheromone in the same gland and do not depend on linoleic acid for pheromone production. This suggests that Δ12-desaturases are common in the 'Nasonia group', but acquired a specialised function in chemical communication of those species that use linoleic acid as a pheromone precursor. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that insect Δ12-desaturases have evolved repeatedly from Δ9-desaturases in different insect taxa. Hence, insects have developed a way to produce linoleic acid independent of the omega desaturase subfamily which harbours all of the eukaryotic Δ12-desaturases known so far.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberjeb201038
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of experimental biology
Volume222
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2019

Fingerprint

Nasonia
Pheromones
Linoleic Acid
pheromone
pheromones
linoleic acid
Insects
Urolepis rufipes
acid
Sex Attractants
insect
sex pheromones
fatty acid
sex pheromone
insects
Fatty Acids
insect pheromones
Fatty Acid Desaturases
biosynthesis
Nasonia vitripennis

Keywords

  • Biosynthesis
  • Nasonia vitripennis
  • Parasitic wasp
  • Sex pheromone
  • Urolepis rufipes
  • Δ12-desaturase

Cite this

Semmelmann, Florian ; Kabeya, Naoki ; Malcicka, Miriama ; Bruckmann, Astrid ; Broschwitz, Bastian ; Straub, Kristina ; Merkl, Rainer ; Monroig, Oscar ; Sterner, Reinhard ; Ruther, Joachim ; Ellers, Jacintha. / Functional characterisation of two Δ12-desaturases demonstrates targeted production of linoleic acid as pheromone precursor in Nasonia. In: The Journal of experimental biology. 2019 ; Vol. 222, No. 10. pp. 1-8.
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title = "Functional characterisation of two Δ12-desaturases demonstrates targeted production of linoleic acid as pheromone precursor in Nasonia",
abstract = "Insect pheromones are often derived from fatty acid metabolism. Fatty acid desaturases, enzymes introducing double bonds into fatty acids, are crucial for the biosynthesis of these chemical signals. Δ12-desaturases catalyse the biosynthesis of linoleic acid by introducing a second double bond into oleic acid, but have been identified in only a few animal species. Here, we report the functional characterisation of two Δ12-desaturases, Nvit_D12a and Nvit_D12b, from the parasitic wasp Nasonia vitripennis. We demonstrate that Nvit_D12a is expressed in the rectal vesicle of males where they produce a linoleic acid-derived sex pheromone to attract virgin females. 13C-labelling experiments with Urolepis rufipes, a closely related species belonging to the 'Nasonia group', revealed that females, but not males, are able to synthesise linoleic acid. U. rufipes males produce an isoprenoid sex pheromone in the same gland and do not depend on linoleic acid for pheromone production. This suggests that Δ12-desaturases are common in the 'Nasonia group', but acquired a specialised function in chemical communication of those species that use linoleic acid as a pheromone precursor. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that insect Δ12-desaturases have evolved repeatedly from Δ9-desaturases in different insect taxa. Hence, insects have developed a way to produce linoleic acid independent of the omega desaturase subfamily which harbours all of the eukaryotic Δ12-desaturases known so far.",
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author = "Florian Semmelmann and Naoki Kabeya and Miriama Malcicka and Astrid Bruckmann and Bastian Broschwitz and Kristina Straub and Rainer Merkl and Oscar Monroig and Reinhard Sterner and Joachim Ruther and Jacintha Ellers",
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Semmelmann, F, Kabeya, N, Malcicka, M, Bruckmann, A, Broschwitz, B, Straub, K, Merkl, R, Monroig, O, Sterner, R, Ruther, J & Ellers, J 2019, 'Functional characterisation of two Δ12-desaturases demonstrates targeted production of linoleic acid as pheromone precursor in Nasonia' The Journal of experimental biology, vol. 222, no. 10, jeb201038 , pp. 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.201038

Functional characterisation of two Δ12-desaturases demonstrates targeted production of linoleic acid as pheromone precursor in Nasonia. / Semmelmann, Florian; Kabeya, Naoki; Malcicka, Miriama; Bruckmann, Astrid; Broschwitz, Bastian; Straub, Kristina; Merkl, Rainer; Monroig, Oscar; Sterner, Reinhard; Ruther, Joachim; Ellers, Jacintha.

In: The Journal of experimental biology, Vol. 222, No. 10, jeb201038 , 16.05.2019, p. 1-8.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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AU - Semmelmann, Florian

AU - Kabeya, Naoki

AU - Malcicka, Miriama

AU - Bruckmann, Astrid

AU - Broschwitz, Bastian

AU - Straub, Kristina

AU - Merkl, Rainer

AU - Monroig, Oscar

AU - Sterner, Reinhard

AU - Ruther, Joachim

AU - Ellers, Jacintha

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AB - Insect pheromones are often derived from fatty acid metabolism. Fatty acid desaturases, enzymes introducing double bonds into fatty acids, are crucial for the biosynthesis of these chemical signals. Δ12-desaturases catalyse the biosynthesis of linoleic acid by introducing a second double bond into oleic acid, but have been identified in only a few animal species. Here, we report the functional characterisation of two Δ12-desaturases, Nvit_D12a and Nvit_D12b, from the parasitic wasp Nasonia vitripennis. We demonstrate that Nvit_D12a is expressed in the rectal vesicle of males where they produce a linoleic acid-derived sex pheromone to attract virgin females. 13C-labelling experiments with Urolepis rufipes, a closely related species belonging to the 'Nasonia group', revealed that females, but not males, are able to synthesise linoleic acid. U. rufipes males produce an isoprenoid sex pheromone in the same gland and do not depend on linoleic acid for pheromone production. This suggests that Δ12-desaturases are common in the 'Nasonia group', but acquired a specialised function in chemical communication of those species that use linoleic acid as a pheromone precursor. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that insect Δ12-desaturases have evolved repeatedly from Δ9-desaturases in different insect taxa. Hence, insects have developed a way to produce linoleic acid independent of the omega desaturase subfamily which harbours all of the eukaryotic Δ12-desaturases known so far.

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