TitleTranscriptional comparison between pheromone gland-ovipositor and tarsi in the corn earworm moth Helicoverpa zea
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsDou, X, Liu, S, Ahn, S-J, Choi, M-Y, Jurenka, R
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part D: Genomics and Proteomics (in press)

The corn earworm, Helicoverpa zea, utilizes (Z)-11-hexadecenal as the major sex pheromone component. The saturated fatty acid derivative 16:Ald is also found in the pheromone gland and recently a large amount (0.5-1.5 μg) was found in male tarsi with lower amounts (0.05-0.5 μg) in female tarsi. In this study, we compared the transcriptome between female pheromone glands (including the ovipositor) and female and male tarsi to identify differences between these tissues, particularly the genes involved in sex pheromone biosynthesis and chemosensation. We found transcripts encoding 11 fatty acyl-CoA desaturases, 20 fatty acyl-CoA reductases, 8 alcohol oxidases, some G-protein coupled receptors and many transcripts involved in signal transduction and pheromone transportation. Also we found gustatory and olfactory receptors associated with the tarsi and ovipositor. Differential expression analysis showed that there were many genes differentially expressed between tissues, including the candidate desaturases, fatty acyl-CoA reductases, and alcohol oxidases. We discuss how some of these genes produce proteins that could be involved in the biosynthesis of hexadecanal in tarsi and (Z)-11-hexadecenal in the pheromone gland and the possible role of proteins in chemosensation of the tarsi and ovipositor.