Recent application of biochemical and molecular techniques to study the genesis of scolytid aggregation pheromones has revealed that bark beetles are primarily responsible for the endogenous synthesis of widely occurring pheromone components such as ipsenol, ipsdienol, and frontalin. Because many of the chemical signals are isoprenoids, the roles of the mevalonate biosynthetic pathway and the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase (HMG-R) have been investigated. This has led to the identification of endothelial cells in the anterior midgut as the site of synthesis and to the concept that de novo pheromone biosynthesis is regulated in part by the positive effect of juvenile hormone III (JHIII) on gene expression for HMG-R. Both the pronounced regulation by JHIII and the expression pattern of eukaryotic argue against synthesis of these pheromones by prokaryotes. As the mevalonate pathway and its regulation have been studied in few other insects, broader issues addressed through the study of scolytid pheromone biosynthesis include major step versus coordinate regulation of the pathway and a genomics approach to elucidating the entire pathway and the mode of action of JHIII.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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