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BY-NC-ND 3.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter June 2, 2014

Uresiphita reversalis (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae): Carrier-Mediated Uptake and Sequestration of Quinolizidine Alkaloids Obtained from the Host Plant Teline monspessulana

  • Michael Wink , Clytia B. Montllor , Elizabeth A. Bernays and Ludger Witte

Larvae of Uresiphita reversalis feed almost exclusively on legumes of the tribe Genisteae, whose characteristic secondary metabolites are quinolizidine alkaloids (QA). Aposematic larvae store host plant-derived QA in their integument, while the pupae are almost alkaloid-free. In the last instar larvae, alkaloids were concentrated in the larval head, possibly in the silk glands. About 80% of the alkaloids were transferred to the cocoon silk and 19% were lost with larval exuviae.

The larval alkaloid pattern was characterized by capillary GLC and GLC-MS and compared to that of the host plant, Teline monspessulana. Whereas the host plant contained mainly epiaphylline, dehydroaphylline and aphylline, larvae selectively accumulated N-methylcytisine, a relatively minor component of the plant QA; the faeces contained mainly epiaphylline and dehydroaphylline. Thus uptake and sequestration must be selective processes. Uptake by isolated larval midguts was time-, pH- and temperature-dependent and displayed an activation energy between 50 and 80 kJ/mol. Furthermore the in vitro uptake of 13-hydroxylupanine was competitively inhibited by cytisine. All these data provide evidence that QA uptake does not proceed by simple diffusion but instead with the aid of a carrier mechanism; this could explain the differential alkaloid uptake observed in living larvae.

Received: 1991-7-1
Published Online: 2014-6-2
Published in Print: 1991-12-1

© 1946 – 2014: Verlag der Zeitschrift für Naturforschung

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License.

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