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De Novo Biosynthesis of Sexual Pheromone in the Labial Gland of Bumblebee Males

Authors

  • Petr Žáček,

    1. Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Flemingovo nám. 2, 166 10 Prague 6 (Czech Republic)
    2. Faculty of Science, Charles University, Albertov 8, 128 40 Prague 2 (Czech Republic)
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  • Darina Prchalová-Horňáková,

    1. Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Flemingovo nám. 2, 166 10 Prague 6 (Czech Republic)
    2. Institute of Chemical Technology, Technická 5, 166 28 Prague 6 (Czech Republic)
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  • Dr. Richard Tykva,

    1. Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Flemingovo nám. 2, 166 10 Prague 6 (Czech Republic)
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  • Dr. Jiří Kindl,

    1. Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Flemingovo nám. 2, 166 10 Prague 6 (Czech Republic)
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  • Dr. Heiko Vogel,

    1. Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Hans-Knoell-Strasse 8, 07745 Jena (Germany)
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  • Dr. Aleš Svatoš,

    1. Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Flemingovo nám. 2, 166 10 Prague 6 (Czech Republic)
    2. Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Hans-Knoell-Strasse 8, 07745 Jena (Germany)
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  • Dr. Iva Pichová,

    1. Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Flemingovo nám. 2, 166 10 Prague 6 (Czech Republic)
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  • Dr. Irena Valterová

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Flemingovo nám. 2, 166 10 Prague 6 (Czech Republic)
    • Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Flemingovo nám. 2, 166 10 Prague 6 (Czech Republic)
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Abstract

De novo biosynthesis of male sex pheromone from two bumblebee species (Bombus terrestris and Bombus lucorum) was studied by using in vitro incubations of labial glands (LGs) with radioactive [1,2-14C]acetate and deuterated [D3]acetate. The labeled substrate was incorporated into several types of compounds, such as terpenic alcohols, fatty acids, esters, and hydrocarbons. A similar incubation of [1,2-14C]acetate with fat bodies (FB) led to the formation of fatty acids, triacylglycerols (TAG), and hydrocarbons. To support the results from in vitro incubations, PCR analysis of fatty acid synthase (FAS) transcripts in LG and FB was performed. Relative quantification of FAS transcription levels revealed that the abundance of mRNA from the FAS gene is a function of the age of B. terrestris males. A comparison of the relative FAS mRNA gene transcription level in FB and LGs of B. terrestris and B. lucorum males proved that high biosynthetic activity takes place in the LGs of both species. Together, these results indicate that pheromone components are synthesized de novo in the LG.

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