Pheromone biosynthesis activating neuropeptide (PBAN): regulatory role and mode of action

Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2009 May 15;162(1):69-78. doi: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2008.04.004. Epub 2008 Apr 18.


This review focuses on the endocrine regulation of reproductive behavior in moth species with particular emphasis on Helicoverpa spp. Reproductive behavior in most adult moths is dependent on the release of a unique blend of sex pheromones by the females to attract conspecific males. Mating, on the other hand, results in a loss of sexual receptivity due to the transfer of secretions from the male accessory glands, which renders females unattractive to ensuing mates. Synchronization of sexual behavior is attained by the timely release of Pheromone-Biosynthesis-Activating Neuropeptide (PBAN), a member of the PBAN/Pyrokinin neuropeptide family, characterized by a common amino acid sequence FXPRLamide motif in the C-terminus. PBAN is released into the hemolymph of females during the scotophase and is drastically reduced after mating, contributing to the loss in female receptivity. Pheromone production is age-dependent and Juvenile Hormone is involved in its regulation. PBAN activates pheromone production through its binding to a PBAN-Receptor (PBAN-R) and subsequent up-regulation of key enzymes in the biosynthetic pathway. The PBAN-R gene was identified as a member of the G-protein coupled receptor family (GPCRs), classified with the vertebrate subfamily of neuromedin U receptors. Using both biochemical and in silico mutagenesis studies, putative binding sites are predicted. Differential expression studies reveal its localization in pheromone glands, neural tissues and the male aedeagus. In the latter tissue, no activity and/or receptor-binding can be detected in response to PBAN. These results raise many questions concerning the evolutionary role of the PBAN/Pyrokinin receptors belonging to the GPCR family.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Insect Proteins / genetics
  • Insect Proteins / metabolism
  • Insect Proteins / physiology*
  • Juvenile Hormones / metabolism
  • Juvenile Hormones / physiology
  • Ligands
  • Male
  • Moths / metabolism*
  • Moths / physiology
  • Neuropeptides / physiology*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism
  • Receptors, Neuropeptide / genetics
  • Receptors, Neuropeptide / metabolism
  • Sex Attractants / biosynthesis*
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Insect Proteins
  • Juvenile Hormones
  • Ligands
  • Neuropeptides
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Receptors, Neuropeptide
  • Sex Attractants