Identification of plant compounds that disrupt the insect juvenile hormone receptor complex

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Feb 10;112(6):1733-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1424386112. Epub 2015 Jan 26.


Insects impact human health through vector-borne diseases and cause major economic losses by damaging crops and stored agricultural products. Insect-specific growth regulators represent attractive control agents because of their safety to the environment and humans. We identified plant compounds that serve as juvenile hormone antagonists (PJHANs). Using the yeast two-hybrid system transformed with the mosquito JH receptor as a reporter system, we demonstrate that PJHANs affect the JH receptor, methoprene-tolerant (Met), by disrupting its complex with CYCLE or FISC, formation of which is required for mediating JH action. We isolated five diterpene secondary metabolites with JH antagonist activity from two plants: Lindera erythrocarpa and Solidago serotina. They are effective in causing mortality of mosquito larvae at relatively low LD50 values. Topical application of two diterpenes caused reduction in the expression of Met target genes and retardation of follicle development in mosquito ovaries. Hence, the newly discovered PJHANs may lead to development of a new class of safe and effective pesticides.

Keywords: endocrine disruptor; juvenile hormone; receptor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diterpenes / isolation & purification
  • Diterpenes / pharmacology*
  • Herbivory / drug effects*
  • Insect Proteins / metabolism*
  • Insecta / drug effects*
  • Insecta / growth & development
  • Juvenile Hormones / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Larva / drug effects
  • Larva / growth & development
  • Lindera / chemistry*
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Solidago / chemistry*
  • Two-Hybrid System Techniques


  • Diterpenes
  • Insect Proteins
  • Juvenile Hormones