N-β-Alanyldopamine: Major Role in Insect Cuticle Tanning

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Science  23 Jul 1982:
Vol. 217, Issue 4557, pp. 364-366
DOI: 10.1126/science.217.4557.364


N-β-Alanyldopamine is the major tyrosine metabolite in the hemolymph and cuticle during pupal tanning in the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta L. Its concentration in hemolymph increases over 800-fold above larval levels by the start of tanning and decreases as the pupal cuticle darkens and hardens. It is a major catechol in species representing several insect orders and is the preferred substrate for pupal cuticular o-diphenol oxidase. In insects, N-β-alanyldopamine appears to be the main precursor for tanning chemicals at certain developmental stages.