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Arch Biochem Biophys. 1984 Feb 1;228(2):639-45.

Synthesis and bioassay of isoprenoid 3-alkylthio-1,1,1-trifluoro-2-propanones: potent, selective inhibitors of juvenile hormone esterase.


Four 3-alkylthio-1,1,1-trifluoro-2-propanones with juvenile hormone-like side chains were prepared from citronellol and homogeraniol. These substrates were designed as possible transition-state analogs for the juvenile hormone (JH)-specific esterases present in insects. These four isoprenoid trifluormethyl ketones were assayed in vitro with JH esterase and general esterases from larvae of the cabbage looper, Trichoplusia ni (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae), and with eel acetylcholinesterase and bovine chymotrypsin. JH esterase inhibition I50 values were in the nanomolar range for all four compounds, while the other esterases had I50's which were 10(3) to 10(5) higher. The high selectivity of these inhibitors is believed to be due to their similarity in size and functionality to natural JH III. Treatment of T. ni larvae in vivo with solutions of the most active analog, 3-[(E)-4,8-dimethyl-3,7-nonadienylthio]-1,1,1-trifluoro-2-propanon e (DNTFP) causes a dose-dependent delay in pupation and a concurrent selective inhibition of JH esterase. These data support the hypothesis that the reduction in in vivo JH titer in larval T. ni is due, in part, to hydrolysis of the hormone by selective esterases. DNTFP appears to be competing with JH for the active site of JH esterase.

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