Biosynthesis of the aldehydic sex pheromone components released by females of Heliothis zea was found to be catalyzed by primary alcohol oxidases residing in the cuticle that covers the glands. Activity, as indicated by conversion of primary alcohol to aldehyde, was as high in cell-free cuticle as it was in intact pheromone glands. Studies indicated that some activity was associated with the surface of the epicuticle and could be removed, into buffer, by sonication. However, the majority of activity lies within the inner epicuticle and exo- and endocuticular layers. The oxidase was not functional in pharate pupae that did not have mature adult cuticle but became functional just prior to adult emergence. The enzyme in individual glands was saturated at alcohol concentrations above 100 n. moles. Nonionic detergents did not affect the activity of the oxidase in the cuticle but treatment with either 7 M urea or 1% SDS resulted in total loss of activity. Studies on the effect of pH indicated an optimum at 6.4; however, activity was high throughout the range of 5-9. The oxidase was functional in both dichloromethane and hexane, suggesting that this enzyme system may have applications for organic synthesis of aldehydes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics