The PBAN/pyrokinin peptides are a major neuropeptide family characterized by a common FXPRLamide at the C-termini. These peptides are distributed ubiquitously in the Insecta and are involved in many essential endocrine functions, e.g. pheromone production. We report the gene architecture of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta PBAN (Soi-PBAN) gene, including the exon and intron boundaries. Furthermore, we quantified expression of the Soi-PBAN mRNA in the head, thorax and abdomen of the fire ant. The Soi-PBAN gene is comprised three exons and two introns, all composed of 13,358 nucleotides, which is 2-4 times larger than lepidopteran PBAN genes. The overall pattern of the PBAN immunoreactive neuron number and localization was similar for female and male alates, inseminated female delates, workers and queens. The Soi-PBAN mRNA expression level was highest in the head, followed by the thorax, and abdomen of adult ants. Expression in the abdominal tissues was expected to be similar to the head, or at least higher than thorax because strong PBAN immunoreactive neurons were detected previously in brain-subesophageal and abdominal ganglia. This result suggests that another FXPRL gene could be dominant in the abdomen rather than Soi-PBAN gene.
Published by Elsevier Ltd.