Attracting and securing potential mating partners is of fundamental importance for reproduction. Therefore, signaling sexual attractiveness is expected to be tightly coordinated in communication systems synchronizing senders and receivers. Chemical signaling has permeated through all taxa of life as the earliest and most widespread form of communication and is particularly prevalent in insects. However, it has been notoriously difficult to decipher how exactly information related to sexual signaling is encoded in complex chemical profiles. Similarly, our knowledge of the genetic basis of sexual signaling is very limited and usually restricted to a few case studies with comparably simple pheromonal communication mechanisms. The present study jointly addresses these two knowledge gaps by characterizing two fatty acid synthase genes, that most likely evolved by tandem gene duplication, simultaneously impacting sexual attractiveness and complex chemical surface profiles in parasitic wasps. Gene knock-down in female wasps dramatically reduces their sexual attractiveness coinciding with a drastic decrease in male courtship and copulation behavior. Concordantly, we found a striking shift of methyl-branching patterns in the female surface pheromonal compounds, which we subsequently demonstrate to be the main cause for the greatly reduced male response. Intriguingly, this suggests a potential coding mechanism for sexual attractiveness mediated by specific methyl-branching patterns in CHC profiles. So far, the genetic underpinnings of methyl-branched CHCs are not well understood despite their high potential for encoding information. Our study sheds light on how biologically relevant information can be encoded in complex chemical profiles and on the genetic basis of sexual attractiveness.
The datasets generated or analyzed during this study are available at the figshare data repository under 10.6084/m9.figshare.20411958
Decoding the genetic and chemical basis of sexual attractiveness in parasitoid wasps10.6084/m9.figshare.20411958.
- Jan Buellesbach
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Rosalyn Gloag, University of Sydney, Australia
© 2023, Sun 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.
Global agro-biodiversity has resulted from processes of plant migration and agricultural adoption. Although critically affecting current diversity, crop diffusion from Classical antiquity to the Middle Ages is poorly researched, overshadowed by studies on that of prehistoric periods. A new archaeobotanical dataset from three Negev Highland desert sites demonstrates the first millennium CE&'s significance for long-term agricultural change in southwest Asia. This enables evaluation of the 'Islamic Green Revolution' (IGR) thesis compared to 'Roman Agricultural Diffusion' (RAD), and both versus crop diffusion during and since the Neolithic. Among the finds, some of the earliest aubergine (Solanum melongena) seeds in the Levant represent the proposed IGR. Several other identified economic plants, including two unprecedented in Levantine archaeobotany-jujube (Ziziphus jujuba/mauritiana) and white lupine (Lupinus albus)-implicate RAD as the greater force for crop migrations. Altogether the evidence supports a gradualist model for Holocene-wide crop diffusion, within which the first millennium CE contributed more to global agricultural diversity than any earlier period.
Temperature determines the geographical distribution of organisms and affects the outbreak and damage of pests. Insects seasonal polyphenism is a successful strategy adopted by some species to adapt the changeable external environment. Cacopsylla chinensis (Yang & Li) showed two seasonal morphotypes, summer-form and winter-form, with significant differences in morphological characteristics. Low temperature is the key environmental factor to induce its transition from summer-form to winter-form. However, the detailed molecular mechanism remains unknown. Here, we firstly confirmed that low temperature of 10 °C induced the transition from summer-form to winter-form by affecting the cuticle thickness and chitin content. Subsequently, we demonstrated that CcTRPM functions as a temperature receptor to regulate this transition. In addition, miR-252 was identified to mediate the expression of CcTRPM to involve in this morphological transition. Finally, we found CcTre1 and CcCHS1, two rate-limiting enzymes of insect chitin biosyntheis, act as the critical down-stream signal of CcTRPM in mediating this behavioral transition. Taken together, our results revealed that a signal transduction cascade mediates the seasonal polyphenism in C. chinensis. These findings not only lay a solid foundation for fully clarifying the ecological adaptation mechanism of C. chinensis outbreak, but also broaden our understanding about insect polymorphism.