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De Novo Biosynthesis of Fatty Acids From α-D-glucose in Parasitoid Wasps of the Nasonia Group

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De Novo Biosynthesis of Fatty Acids From α-D-glucose in Parasitoid Wasps of the Nasonia Group

Lorena Prager et al. Insect Biochem Mol Biol.

Abstract

Fatty acids are indispensable primary metabolites for virtually any organism on earth and thus enzymatic machinery enabling de novo production of fatty acids from carbohydrates is highly conserved. A series of studies has questioned the ubiquity of lipogenesis in parasitoid wasps suggesting that the vast majority of species have lost the ability to synthesize fatty acids de novo. One such species is Nasonia vitripennis, which, like the congeneric species N. giraulti and N. longicornis, uses a fatty acid-derived male sex pheromone for sexual communication. Here we demonstrate by feeding fully 13C-labeled α-D-glucose and analyzing insect-derived fatty acid methyl esters and the male sex pheromone by coupled gas chromatography/mass spectrometry that both males and females of N. vitripennis as well as N. giraulti and N. longicornis are capable of synthesizing fatty acids de novo. We furthermore show by a proteomics approach that predicted fatty acid synthase, ATP-citrate synthase, and acetyl-CoA carboxylase, key enzymes of lipogenesis, are expressed in the male pheromone gland of N. vitripennis and N. giraulti. Labeling experiments with Urolepis rufipes, a closely related species producing a male sex pheromone independently of fatty acids via the mevalonate pathway, revealed that both sexes are likewise able to synthesize fatty acids de novo. We conclude that the parasitoid wasp species studied here, irrespective of the biosynthetic origin of their sex pheromones, are capable of responding flexibly to lipid shortage during their adult life by keeping enzymatic machinery for lipogenesis running.

Keywords: Biosynthesis; Fatty acid; Lipogenesis; Nasonia; Palmitic acid; Sex pheromone; Stearic acid; Urolepis rufipes.

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