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Isolation of insect juvenile hormone III from a plant


Juvenile hormones (JHs) are insect hormones which promote the retention of larval structures when present at larval–larval moults, but which also stimulate ovarian growth and maturation in adult insects. Here we report the isolation of JH III from the Malaysian plant Cyperus iria (common name grasshopper's Cyperus; family, Cyperaceae) along with the closely related compound, methyl (2E,6E)-farnesoate. The latter is a putative JH of crustaceans1 and some insect species2. The plant JH III has the same 10R configuration as that previously determined for JH III secreted by insect tissue3. Grasshopper (Melanoplus sanguinipes) nymphs fed on C. iria grew at a rate similar to controls fed on wheat seedlings, but showed pronounced morphogenetic effects due to excess JH (metathetely4) on moulting to adults. Ovaries dissected from Cype-ms-fed females were markedly underdeveloped compared to those of normal females. These findings demonstrate a novel plant defence mechanism against insects.

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Toong, Y., Schooley, D. & Baker, F. Isolation of insect juvenile hormone III from a plant. Nature 333, 170–171 (1988).

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