Canadian Forest Service Publications

Characterization and tissue-specific expression of two lepidopteran farnesyl diphosphate synthase homologs: Implications for the biosynthesis of ethyl-substituted juvenile hormones. 2006. Cusson, M.; Béliveau, C.; Sen, S.E.; Vandermoten, S.; Rutledge, R.G.; Stewart, D.; Francis, F.; Haubruge, E.; Rehse, P.; Huggins, D.J.; Dowling, A.P.G.; Grant, G.H. Bioinformatics 65: 742-758.

Year: 2006

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 26632

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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The sesquiterpenoid juvenile hormone (JH) regulates insect development and reproduction. Most insects produce only one chemical form of JH, but the Lepidoptera produce four derivatives featuring ethyl branches. The biogenesis of these JHs requires the synthesis of ethyl-substituted farnesyl diphosphate (FPP) by FPP synthase (FPPS). To determine if there exist more than one lepidopteran FPPS, and whether one FPPS homolog is better adapted for binding the bulkier ethyl-branched substrates/products, we cloned three lepidopteran FPPS cDNAs, two from Choristoneura fumiferana and one from Pseudaletia unipuncta. Amino acid sequence comparisons among these and other eukaryotic FPPSs led to the recognition of two lepidopteran FPPS types. Type-I FPPSs display unique active site substitutions, including several in and near the first aspartaterich motif, whereas type-II proteins have a more "conventional" catalytic cavity. In a yeast assay, a Drosophila FPPS clone provided full complementation of an FPPS mutation, but lepidopteran FPPS clones of either type yielded only partial complementation, suggesting unusual catalytic features and/or requirements of these enzymes. Although a structural analysis of lepidopteran FPPS active sites suggested that type-I enzymes are better suited than type-II for generating ethyl-substituted products, a quantitative real-time PCR assessment of their relative abundance in insect tissues indicated that type-I expression is ubiquitous whereas that of type-II is essentially confined to the JH-producing glands, where its transcripts are ~20 times more abundant than those of type-I. These results suggest that type-II FPPS plays a leading role in lepidopteran JH biosynthesis in spite of its apparently more conventional catalytic cavity.