Structure-Activity Studies of Semiochemicals from the Spider Orchid Caladenia plicata for Sexual Deception

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Abstract

Sexually deceptive orchids attract specific pollinators by mimicking insect sex pheromones. Normally this mimicry is very specific and identical compounds have been identified from orchids and matching females of the pollinators. In this study, we conduct a detailed structure-activity investigation on isomers of the semiochemicals involved in the sexual attraction of the male pollinator of the spider orchid Caladenia plicata. This orchid employs an unusual blend of two biosynthetically unrelated compounds, (S)-β-citronellol and 2-hydroxy-6-methylacetophenone, to lure its Zeleboria sp. thynnine wasp pollinator. We show that the blend is barely attractive when (S)-β-citronellol is substituted with its enantiomer, (R)-β-citronellol. Furthermore, none of the nine-possible alternative hydroxy-methylacetophenone regioisomers of the natural semiochemical are active when substituted for the natural 2-hydroxy-6-methylacetophenone. Our results were surprising given the structural similarity between the active compound and some of the analogues tested, and results from previous studies in other sexually deceptive orchid/wasp systems where substitution with analogues was possible. Interestingly, high-level ab initio and density functional theory calculations of the hydroxy-methylacetophenones revealed that the active natural isomer, 2-hydroxy-6-methylacetophenone, has the strongest intramolecular hydrogen bond of all regioisomers, which at least in part may explain the specific activity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)436-443
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Volume44
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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Caladenia
semiochemical
semiochemicals
Spiders
Pheromones
Deception
pollinator
citronellol
pollinators
spider
Araneae
Wasps
Isomers
wasp
Orchidaceae
isomers
Sex Attractants
Enantiomers
insect pheromones
mimicry

Cite this

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title = "Structure-Activity Studies of Semiochemicals from the Spider Orchid Caladenia plicata for Sexual Deception",
abstract = "Sexually deceptive orchids attract specific pollinators by mimicking insect sex pheromones. Normally this mimicry is very specific and identical compounds have been identified from orchids and matching females of the pollinators. In this study, we conduct a detailed structure-activity investigation on isomers of the semiochemicals involved in the sexual attraction of the male pollinator of the spider orchid Caladenia plicata. This orchid employs an unusual blend of two biosynthetically unrelated compounds, (S)-β-citronellol and 2-hydroxy-6-methylacetophenone, to lure its Zeleboria sp. thynnine wasp pollinator. We show that the blend is barely attractive when (S)-β-citronellol is substituted with its enantiomer, (R)-β-citronellol. Furthermore, none of the nine-possible alternative hydroxy-methylacetophenone regioisomers of the natural semiochemical are active when substituted for the natural 2-hydroxy-6-methylacetophenone. Our results were surprising given the structural similarity between the active compound and some of the analogues tested, and results from previous studies in other sexually deceptive orchid/wasp systems where substitution with analogues was possible. Interestingly, high-level ab initio and density functional theory calculations of the hydroxy-methylacetophenones revealed that the active natural isomer, 2-hydroxy-6-methylacetophenone, has the strongest intramolecular hydrogen bond of all regioisomers, which at least in part may explain the specific activity.",
author = "Bjorn Bohman and Amir Karton and Flematti, {Gavin R.} and Adrian Scaffidi and Rod Peakall",
year = "2018",
doi = "10.1007/s10886-018-0946-0",
language = "English",
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pages = "436--443",
journal = "Journal of Chemical Ecology",
issn = "0098-0331",
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T1 - Structure-Activity Studies of Semiochemicals from the Spider Orchid Caladenia plicata for Sexual Deception

AU - Bohman, Bjorn

AU - Karton, Amir

AU - Flematti, Gavin R.

AU - Scaffidi, Adrian

AU - Peakall, Rod

PY - 2018

Y1 - 2018

N2 - Sexually deceptive orchids attract specific pollinators by mimicking insect sex pheromones. Normally this mimicry is very specific and identical compounds have been identified from orchids and matching females of the pollinators. In this study, we conduct a detailed structure-activity investigation on isomers of the semiochemicals involved in the sexual attraction of the male pollinator of the spider orchid Caladenia plicata. This orchid employs an unusual blend of two biosynthetically unrelated compounds, (S)-β-citronellol and 2-hydroxy-6-methylacetophenone, to lure its Zeleboria sp. thynnine wasp pollinator. We show that the blend is barely attractive when (S)-β-citronellol is substituted with its enantiomer, (R)-β-citronellol. Furthermore, none of the nine-possible alternative hydroxy-methylacetophenone regioisomers of the natural semiochemical are active when substituted for the natural 2-hydroxy-6-methylacetophenone. Our results were surprising given the structural similarity between the active compound and some of the analogues tested, and results from previous studies in other sexually deceptive orchid/wasp systems where substitution with analogues was possible. Interestingly, high-level ab initio and density functional theory calculations of the hydroxy-methylacetophenones revealed that the active natural isomer, 2-hydroxy-6-methylacetophenone, has the strongest intramolecular hydrogen bond of all regioisomers, which at least in part may explain the specific activity.

AB - Sexually deceptive orchids attract specific pollinators by mimicking insect sex pheromones. Normally this mimicry is very specific and identical compounds have been identified from orchids and matching females of the pollinators. In this study, we conduct a detailed structure-activity investigation on isomers of the semiochemicals involved in the sexual attraction of the male pollinator of the spider orchid Caladenia plicata. This orchid employs an unusual blend of two biosynthetically unrelated compounds, (S)-β-citronellol and 2-hydroxy-6-methylacetophenone, to lure its Zeleboria sp. thynnine wasp pollinator. We show that the blend is barely attractive when (S)-β-citronellol is substituted with its enantiomer, (R)-β-citronellol. Furthermore, none of the nine-possible alternative hydroxy-methylacetophenone regioisomers of the natural semiochemical are active when substituted for the natural 2-hydroxy-6-methylacetophenone. Our results were surprising given the structural similarity between the active compound and some of the analogues tested, and results from previous studies in other sexually deceptive orchid/wasp systems where substitution with analogues was possible. Interestingly, high-level ab initio and density functional theory calculations of the hydroxy-methylacetophenones revealed that the active natural isomer, 2-hydroxy-6-methylacetophenone, has the strongest intramolecular hydrogen bond of all regioisomers, which at least in part may explain the specific activity.

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