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Spatiotemporal expression profiling of the farnesyl diphosphate synthase genes in aphids and analysis of their associations with the biosynthesis of alarm pheromone

  • Y.-J. Cheng (a1) and Z.-X. Li (a1)


The alarm behavior plays a key role in the ecology of aphids, but the site and molecular mechanism for the biosynthesis of aphid alarm pheromone are largely unknown. Farnesyl diphosphate synthase (FPPS) catalyzes the synthesis of FPP, providing the precursor for the alarm pheromone (E)-β-farnesene (EβF), and we speculate that FPPS is closely associated with the biosynthetic pathway of EβF. We firstly analyzed the spatiotemporal expression of FPPS genes by using quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, showing that they were expressed uninterruptedly from the embryonic stage to adult stage, with an obvious increasing trend from embryo to 4th-instar in the green peach aphid Myzus persicae, but FPPS1 had an overall significantly higher expression level than FPPS2; both FPPS1 and FPPS2 exhibited the highest expression in the cornicle area. This expression pattern was verified in Acyrthosiphon pisum, suggesting that FPPS1 may play a more important role in aphids and the cornicle area is most likely the site for EβF biosynthesis. We thus conducted a quantitative measurement of EβF in M. persicae by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The data obtained were used to perform an association analysis with the expression data, revealing that the content of EβF per aphid was significantly correlated with the mean weight per aphid (r = 0.8534, P = 0.0307) and the expression level of FPPS1 (r = 0.9134, P = 0.0109), but not with that of FPPS2 (r = 0.4113, P = 0.4179); the concentration of EβF per milligram of aphid was not correlated with the mean weight per aphid or the expression level of FPPS genes. These data suggest that FPPS1 may play a key role in the biosynthesis of aphid alarm pheromone.


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