Multi-Functional Desaturases in Two Spodoptera Moths with ∆ 11 and ∆ 12 Desaturation Activities
Journal article, 2019

The beet armyworm, Spodoptera exigua, uses (Z,E)-9,12-tetradecadienyl acetate as the major component of its sex pheromone. Previous isotope-labeling experiments demonstrated an unusual ∆12 desaturase activity involved in the biosynthesis of this compound; however, the putative ∆12 desaturase gene has not been reported to date. In the present study, we confirmed this ∆12 desaturation pathway by in vivo labeling experiments, and characterized candidate desaturase genes in a yeast heterologous expression system. We demonstrated that a pheromone gland-specific desaturase, SexiDes5, uses palmitic acid and the subsequently chain-shortened product (Z)-9-tetradecenoic acid as substrates to produce (Z)-11-hexadecenoic and (Z,E)-9,12-tetradecadienoic acids, respectively. In addition, the homologous desaturase SlitDes5 from the congeneric Spodoptera litura had analogous functions.


Yihan Xia

Lund University


Huaibei Normal University

Baojian Ding

Lund University

Honglei Wang

Lund University

Christer Löfstedt

Lund University

Journal of Chemical Ecology

0098-0331 (ISSN) 1573-1561 (eISSN)

Vol. 45 378-387

Subject Categories

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology





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7/6/2021 9