Sex Pheromone Biosynthesis in Trichoplusia ni: Key Steps Involve Delta-11 Desaturation and Chain-Shortening

Science  24 Jun 1983:
Vol. 220, Issue 4604, pp. 1387-1389
DOI: 10.1126/science.220.4604.1387


In addition to the primary pheromone component (Z)-7-dodecenyl acetate, the sex pheromone gland of Trichoplusia ni contains the immediate fatty acyl precursor (Z)-7-dodecenoate and a large quantity of (Z)-11-hexadecenoate. Labeling experiments showed that (Z)-11-hexadecenoate is chain-shortened to (Z)-9-tetradecenoate, and that this in turn is chain-shortened to (Z)-7-dodecenoate. The same mechanism appears to explain the sex pheromone compositions of many other moth species.