Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 207–214 | Cite as

RNAi-Induced Electrophysiological and Behavioral Changes Reveal two Pheromone Binding Proteins of Helicoverpa armigera Involved in the Perception of the Main Sex Pheromone Component Z11–16:Ald

  • Kun Dong
  • Liang Sun
  • Jing-Tao Liu
  • Shao-Hua Gu
  • Jing-Jiang Zhou
  • Ruo-Nan Yang
  • Khalid Hussain Dhiloo
  • Xi-Wu Gao
  • Yu-Yuan Guo
  • Yong-Jun ZhangEmail author


Pheromone binding proteins (PBPs) are thought to play key roles in insect sex pheromone recognition; however, there is little in vivo evidence to support this viewpoint in comparison to abundant biochemical data in vitro. In the present study, two noctuid PBP genes HarmPBP1 and HarmPBP2 of the serious agricultural pest, Helicoverpa armigera were selected to be knocked down by RNA interference, and then the changes in electrophysiological and behavioral responses of male mutants to their major sex pheromone component (Z)-11-hexadecenal (Z11–16:Ald) were recorded. There were no significant electrophysiological or behavioral changes of tested male moths in response to Z11–16:Ald when either single PBP gene was knocked down. However, decreased sensitivity of male moths in response to Z11–16:Ald was observed when both HarmPBP1 and HarmPBP2 genes were silenced. These results reveal that both HarmPBP1 and HarmPBP2 are required for the recognition of the main sex pheromone component Z11–16:Ald in H. armigera. Furthermore, these findings may help clarify physiological roles of moth PBPs in the sex pheromone recognition pathway, which in turn could facilitate pest control by exploring sex pheromone blocking agents.


Helicoverpa armigera Pheromone binding proteins RNA interference Sex pheromone detection 



This work was supported by the Chinese National Basic Research Program (2012CB114104), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31272048, 31471778, 31672038, and 31621064) and the Beijing Nova Program (Z1511000003150118). This manuscript has been edited by the native English-speaking experts of Elsevier Language Editing Services.

Supplementary material

10886_2016_816_Fig5_ESM.jpg (425 kb)
Fig. S1

HarmPBP3 transcripts of non-injected, water-injected, dsGFP-injected, single dsPBP-injected, and the mixture of dsPBP1 and dsPBP1-injected groups. The expression of HarmPBP3 was normalized using β-actin, and the mRNA transcript levels of HarmPBP3 were examined at 72 hr after injection. Data represents the mean values ± S.E.M of three independent replicates. Different letters within the same figure indicated that the values were significantly different (P < 0.05). (JPEG 425 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kun Dong
    • 1
    • 2
  • Liang Sun
    • 3
  • Jing-Tao Liu
    • 2
  • Shao-Hua Gu
    • 2
  • Jing-Jiang Zhou
    • 4
  • Ruo-Nan Yang
    • 2
  • Khalid Hussain Dhiloo
    • 2
    • 5
  • Xi-Wu Gao
    • 1
  • Yu-Yuan Guo
    • 2
  • Yong-Jun Zhang
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyChina Agricultural UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory for Biology of Plant Diseases and Insect Pests, Institute of Plant ProtectionChinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Tea Biology and Resources Utilization, Ministry of Agriculture, Tea Research InstituteChinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesHangzhouChina
  4. 4.Department of Biological Chemistry and Crop ProtectionRothamsted ResearchHarpendenUK
  5. 5.Department of Entomology, Faculty of Crop ProtectionSindh Agriculture University TandojamTandojamPakistan

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