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J Neurosci. 1989 Sep;9(9):3332-46.

Expression of pheromone binding proteins during antennal development in the gypsy moth Lymantria dispar.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, State University of New York, Stony Brook 11794.


We have identified 2 olfactory specific proteins in the gypsy moth Lymantria dispar that are uniquely associated with the male antennae, the principal olfactory organs of this animal. These proteins were the major soluble protein components of the olfactory sensilla, present in equivalent amounts. Both proteins comigrated on SDS-PAGE, showing an apparent molecular mass of 15,000 Da but migrated separately on non-SDS-PAGE, indicating differences in net charge. N-terminal amino acid sequence analysis showed that the 2 proteins share 50% identity, indicating that they are genetically distinct homologs. Both proteins bound the L. dispar sexpheromone, associated with antisera prepared against the previously identified phermone-binding protein (PBP) of the moth Antheraea polyphemus, and shared sequence identity with the A. polyphemus PBP. These 2 proteins are therefore identified as L. dispar PBPs and are termed PBP1 and PBP2 based on their migration differences on non-SDS-PAGE. It is estimated that PBP1 and PBP2 are present in the sensilla lumen at a combined concentration of 13.4 mM. The expression of the L. dispar PBPs was examined during the 11 d development of the adult antenna. PBP1 and PBP2 were first detected by non-SDS-PAGE analysis and Coomassie blue staining 3 d before adult eclosion, on day A-3. Levels increased, reaching a plateau on day A-1 that continued into adult life. In vivo labeling studies indicated that the rate of PBP synthesis increased from A-3 to a plateau on A-2, where it remained into adult life. In vitro translations of antennal mRNAs indicated that translatable PBP mRNA was available at a very low level on day A-4, increased slightly on A-3 and dramatically on A-2, and remained at a high level into adult life. PBP mRNA represented the major translatable mRNA in the antenna during this period. It was estimated that the PBPs undergo a combined steady-state turnover of 8 x 10(7) molecules/hr/sensillum. Cursory in vivo and in vitro translation studies of antennal mRNA from A. polyphemus and Manduca sexta showed similar temporal patterns of PBP expression, suggesting that the L. dispar observations are general.

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