Trehalase is required for sex pheromone biosynthesis in Helicoverpa armigera.
Trehalase (Treh) hydrolyzes trehalose to generate glucose and it plays important role in many physiological processes. Acetyl-CoA, the precursor of sex pheromone biosynthesis in the pheromone gland (PG) of Helicoverpa armigera, originates from glucose during glycolysis. However, the function of Treh in sex pheromone biosynthesis remains elusive. In the present study, H. armigera was used as a model to investigate the function of two Trehs (Treh1 and Treh2) in sex pheromone biosynthesis. Results demonstrated that knockdown of HaTreh1 or HaTreh2 in female PGs led to significant decreases in Z11-16:Ald production, female ability to attract males, and successful mating proportions. Pheromone biosynthesis activating neuropeptide (PBAN) treatment triggered HaTreh1 and HaTreh2 activities in the isolated PGs and Sf9 cells. However, the activities of HaTreh1 and HaTreh2 triggered by PBAN were offset by H-89, the specific inhibitor of protein kinase A (PKA). Furthermore, the H-89 treatment significantly decreased the phosphorylation level of Trhe2, which was induced by PBAN. In addition, sugar feeding (5% sugar) increased the enzyme activities of Treh1 and Treh2. In summary, our findings confirmed that PBAN activates Treh1/2 activities by recruiting cAMP/PKA signalling, promotes glycolysis to ensure the supply of acetyl-CoA, and ultimately facilitates sex pheromone biosynthesis and mating behaviour.