In biological systems, it is expected that gene expression levels generally will correlate with temporally varying physiological and biological needs, and that gene expression levels could regulate biological capabilities. In moth species, male response to female sex pheromones often is affected by moth age and mating status. Odorant receptors (ORs) expressed in neurons within male antennae are critical for detecting the female pheromones. Therefore, we hypothesized that the expression level of these receptor proteins would be affected by age and mating status of male moths. We examined expression levels of two OR genes that are preferentially expressed in the male antennae of Heliothis virescens (HvOR13 and HvOR15) and Heliothis subflexa (HsOR13 and HsOR15). Antennae were dissected from virgin males at 2 h, 1 d, 2 d, 4 d, and 8 d. We also dissected antennae from 4-d-old mated males. We found that age had no effect on expression levels of either OR in either species, except for a small difference in HsOR15 expression between 2 h and 8-d-old virgin males. Furthermore, we found no effect of mating status on expression level of these ORs in either species. We discuss these findings in relationship to studies of age and mating status effects on male electrophysiological and behavioral response to female pheromones, and contrast our results to studies on the effects of age and mating status on gene expression of pheromone receptor proteins and pheromone binding proteins in other moths.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics