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Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2007 Aug;71(8):1993-2001. Epub 2007 Aug 7.

Sex pheromone production in the silkworm, Bombyx mori, is mediated by store-operated Ca2+ channels.

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  • 1Molecular Entomology Laboratory, RIKEN, Wako, Saitama, Japan.


In most female moths, pheromone biosynthesis activating neuropeptide (PBAN) regulates sex pheromone production by stimulating an influx of extracellular Ca(2+). Little is known about the plasma membrane channel or how the PBAN stimulus is communicated to the channel. Fluorescent Ca(2+) imaging techniques confirmed PBAN-induced Ca(2+) influx in the silkworm, Bombyx mori, and showed that the PBAN response is reduced with repeated stimulation. Compounds known to impact Ca(2+) signaling were examined for their effects on sex pheromone production. These experiments demonstrated that the PBAN signal is likely mediated by a store-operated channel (SOC). SOC blockers, SKF-96365 and 2-aminoethoxydiphenyl borate, abolished sex pheromone production, as did flufenamic acid, a blocker of transient receptor potential (TRP) channels. Thapsigargin mimicked the pheromonotropic effects of PBAN. Similar results were seen when PBAN-induced lipase activity was assayed. Conversely, 1-oleoyl-2-acetyl-sn-glycerol and arachidonic acid, activators of diacylglycerol-dependent Ca(2+) channels, had no effect on bombykol production.

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