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Do Pheromone Binding Proteins Converge in Amino Acid Sequence When Pheromones Converge?


Convergence in amino acid sequences between proteins can be strong evidence for selection. Here, I look for evidence of convergence in the amino acid sequences of pheromone binding protein (PBP) in response to convergence in pheromones. PBPs are involved in sex pheromone reception by the antennae of male moths. In this role PBPs may selectively bind pheromone components and experience convergent selection in response to convergence in pheromone components. However, examination of the PBPs of the taxa that have converged upon the use of (E)- or (Z)-11-tetradecenyl acetate as their major pheromone component reveals little evidence for convergence in the PBPs identified from these taxa. A few sites show a pattern consistent with convergence or parallelism; however, it cannot be ruled out that these sites share the ancestral state. Two of these sites fall within the proposed binding region of PBPs. These results suggest that PBPs either have not converged in sequence or have converged at very few sites in response to convergence on the same pheromone component.

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Received: 29 July 1999 / Accepted: 8 November 1999

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Willett, C. Do Pheromone Binding Proteins Converge in Amino Acid Sequence When Pheromones Converge?. J Mol Evol 50, 175–183 (2000).

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  • Key words: Pheromone binding proteins — Convergence — Lepidoptera —Pectinophora gossypiella (Gelechiidae) —Synanthedon exitiosa (Sesiidae) —Yponomeuta cagnagellus (Yponomeutidae)