1. Developmental Biology
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A host beetle pheromone regulates development and behavior in the nematode Pristionchus pacificus

  1. Jessica K Cinkornpumin
  2. Dona R Wisidagama
  3. Veronika Rapoport
  4. James L Go
  5. Christoph Dieterich
  6. Xiaoyue Wang
  7. Ralf J Sommer
  8. Ray L Hong  Is a corresponding author
  1. California State University, Northridge, United States
  2. University of Utah, United States
  3. Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, Germany
  4. Max-Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Germany
Research Article
  • Cited 15
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Cite this article as: eLife 2014;3:e03229 doi: 10.7554/eLife.03229

Abstract

Nematodes and insects are the two most speciose animal phyla and nematode-insect associations encompass widespread biological interactions. To dissect the chemical signals and the genes mediating this association, we investigated the effect of an oriental beetle sex pheromone on the development and behavior of the nematode Pristionchus pacificus. We found that while the beetle pheromone is attractive to P. pacificus adults, the pheromone arrests embryo development, paralyzes J2 larva, and inhibits exit of dauer larvae. To uncover the mechanism that regulate insect pheromone sensitivity, a newly identified mutant, Ppa-obi-1, is used to reveal the molecular links between altered attraction toward the beetle pheromone, as well as hypersensitivity to its paralyzing effects. Ppa-obi-1 encodes lipid-binding domains and reaches its highest expression in various cell types, including the amphid neuron sheath and excretory cells. Our data suggests that the beetle host pheromone may be a species-specific volatile synomone that coevolved with necromeny.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Jessica K Cinkornpumin

    California State University, Northridge, Northridge, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Dona R Wisidagama

    University of Utah, Salt Lake City, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Veronika Rapoport

    California State University, Northridge, Northridge, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. James L Go

    California State University, Northridge, Northridge, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Christoph Dieterich

    Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, Cologne, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  6. Xiaoyue Wang

    Max-Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Tuebingen, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  7. Ralf J Sommer

    Max-Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Tuebingen, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  8. Ray L Hong

    California State University, Northridge, Northridge, United States
    For correspondence
    ray.hong@csun.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Oliver Hobert, Columbia University, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: May 4, 2014
  2. Accepted: October 14, 2014
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: October 15, 2014 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: November 25, 2014 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2014, Cinkornpumin et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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  1. Further reading

Further reading

  1. A beetle pheromone that lures nematode worms to an insect host can also stop their development or even kill them outright.

    1. Developmental Biology
    2. Evolutionary Biology
    Joshua F Coulcher et al.
    Research Article Updated

    Ascidians with very similar embryos but highly divergent genomes are thought to have undergone extensive developmental system drift. We compared, in four species (Ciona and Phallusia for Phlebobranchia, Molgula and Halocynthia for Stolidobranchia), gene expression and gene regulation for a network of six transcription factors regulating peripheral nervous system (PNS) formation in Ciona. All genes, but one in Molgula, were expressed in the PNS with some differences correlating with phylogenetic distance. Cross-species transgenesis indicated strong levels of conservation, except in Molgula, in gene regulation despite lack of sequence conservation of the enhancers. Developmental system drift in ascidians is thus higher for gene regulation than for gene expression and is impacted not only by phylogenetic distance, but also in a clade-specific manner and unevenly within a network. Finally, considering that Molgula is divergent in our analyses, this suggests deep conservation of developmental mechanisms in ascidians after 390 My of separate evolution.