Yeast-like symbiotes as a sterol source in anobiid beetles (Coleoptera, Anobiidae): Possible metabolic pathways from fungal sterols to 7-dehydrocholesterol



Insects are unable to synthesize sterols and require exogenous sterol sources for their normal development and reproduction. A few exceptions are insects associated with symbiotic yeasts or fungi. We analyzed sterols by GC-MS in two anobiid beetles (Lasioderma serricorne and Stegobium paniceum), their intracellular yeast-like symbiotes (YLS), and their diets in order to clarify the sterols synthesized by YLS and the metabolic pathways of the sterols in the beetles. Several C27, C28, and C29 saturated and unsaturated sterols were identified; the predominant sterols were cholesterol and 7-dehydrocholesterol in the anobiid beetles and ergosterol in the YLS. Most sterols detected in YLS were those known in the late pathway of the ergosterol biosynthesis in yeasts and most of the sterols in the beetles appear to be intermediate metabolites from YLS sterols to 7-dehydrocholesterol. The anobiid beetles appear to use ergosterol and 5-dihydroergosterol as sources for 7-dehydrocholesterol. Arch. Insect Biochem. Physiol. 52:175–182, 2003. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.