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Production of alarm pheromone starts at embryo stage and is modulated by rearing conditions and farnesyl diphosphate synthase genes in the bird cherry-oat aphid Rhopalosiphum padi

  • C.-X. Sun (a1) and Z.-X. Li (a1)


The major component of aphid alarm pheromone is (E)-β-farnesene (EβF), but the molecular mechanisms of EβF synthesis are poorly understood. Here we established a biological model to study the modulation of EβF synthesis in the bird cherry-oat aphid Rhopalosiphum padi by using quantitative polymerase chain reaction, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry and RNA interference. Our results showed that the rearing conditions significantly affected the weight of adult and modulated EβF synthesis in a transgenerational manner. Specifically, the quantity of EβF per milligram of aphid was significantly reduced in the individually reared adult or 1st-instar nymphs derived from 1-day-old adult reared individually, but EβF in the nymph derived from 2-day-old adult that experienced collective conditions returned to normal. Further study revealed that the production of EβF started in embryo and was extended to early nymphal stage, which was modulated by farnesyl diphosphate synthase genes (RpFPPS1 and RpFPPS2) and rearing conditions. Knockdown of RpFPPS1 and RpFPPS2 confirmed the role played by FPPS in the biosynthesis of aphid alarm pheromone. Our results suggested that the production of EβF starts at the embryo stage and is modulated by FPPS and rearing conditions in R. padi, which sheds lights on the modulatory mechanisms of EβF in the aphid.


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