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Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2000 Aug-Sep;30(8-9):805-12.

Common functional elements of Drosophila melanogaster seminal peptides involved in reproduction of Drosophila melanogaster and Helicoverpa armigera females.

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  • 1Department of Entomology, The Hebrew University, P.O. Box 12, 76100, Rehovot, Israel.


Sex peptide (SP) and Ductus ejaculatorius peptide (Dup) 99B are synthesized in the retrogonadal complex of adult male Drosophila melanogaster, and are transferred in the male seminal fluid to the female genital tract during mating. They have been sequenced and shown to exhibit a high degree of homology in the C-terminal region. Both affect subsequent mating and oviposition by female D. melanogaster. SP also increases in vitro juvenile hormone (JH) biosynthesis in excised corpora allata (CA) of D. melanogaster and Helicoverpa armigera. We herein report that the partial C-terminal peptides SP(8-36) and SP(21-36) of D. melanogaster, and the truncated N-terminal SP(6-20) do not stimulate JH biosynthesis in vitro in CA of both species. Both of these C-terminal peptides reduce JH-III biosynthesis significantly. Dup99B, with no appreciable homology to SP in the N-terminal region, similarly lacks an effect on JH production by H. armigera CA. In contrast, the N-terminal peptides - SP(1-11) and SP(1-22) - do significantly activate JH biosynthesis of both species in vitro. We conclude that the first five N-terminal amino acid residues at the least, are essential for allatal stimulation in these disparate insect species. We have previously shown that the full-length SP(1-36) depresses pheromone biosynthesis in H. armigera in vivo and in vitro. We now show that full-length Dup99B and the C-terminal partial sequence SP(8-36) at low concentrations strongly depress (in the range of 90% inhibition) PBAN-stimulated pheromone biosynthesis of H. armigera. In addition, the N-terminal peptide SP(1-22), the shorter N-terminal peptide SP(1-11) and the truncated N-terminal SP(6-20) strongly inhibit pheromone biosynthesis at higher concentrations.

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