Function and cellular localization of farnesoic acid O-methyltransferase (FAMeT) in the shrimp, Metapenaeus ensis

Eur J Biochem. 2002 Jul;269(14):3587-95. doi: 10.1046/j.1432-1033.2002.03048.x.


The isoprenoid methyl farnesoate (MF) has been implicated in the regulation of crustacean development and reproduction in conjunction with eyestalk molt inhibiting hormones and ecdysteroids. Farnesoic acid O-methyltransferase (FAMeT) catalyzes the methylation of farnesoic acid (FA) to produce MF in the terminal step of MF synthesis. We have previously cloned and characterized the shrimp FAMeT. In the present study, recombinant FAMeT (rFAMeT) was produced for bioassay and antiserum generation. FAMeT is widely distributed in shrimp tissues with the highest concentration observed in the ventral nerve cord. Interestingly, an additional larger protein in the eyestalk also showed immunoreactivity to anti-FAMeT serum. FAMeT was localized in the neurosecretory cells of the X-organ-sinus gland complex of the eyestalk. As shown by RT-PCR, FAMeT mRNA is constitutively expressed throughout the molt cycle in the eyestalk and the ventral nerve cord. To show that our cloned gene product had FAMeT activity, we demonstrated that expressed rFAMeT gene product catalyzed the conversion of FA to MF in a radiochemical assay. The ubiquitous distribution of FAMeT suggests that this enzyme is involved in physiological processes in addition to gametogenesis, oocyte maturation and development and metamorphosis of the shrimp. We hypothesize that FAMeT directly or indirectly (through MF) modulates the reproduction and growth of crustaceans by interacting with the eyestalk neuropeptides as a consequence of its presence in the neurosecretory cells of the X-organ-sinus gland.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Structures / enzymology
  • Animals
  • Enzyme Induction
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Metamorphosis, Biological
  • Methylation
  • Methyltransferases / analysis
  • Methyltransferases / physiology*
  • Morphogenesis
  • Neurosecretory Systems / enzymology*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Penaeidae / enzymology*
  • Penaeidae / growth & development
  • Penaeidae / ultrastructure
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / physiology
  • Reproduction / physiology
  • Sesquiterpenes / metabolism


  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • methyl farnesoate
  • juvenile hormone III
  • Methyltransferases
  • farnesoic acid O-methyltransferase