Functional genomics of mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) midguts and fat bodies

The mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) is a significant coniferous forest pest in western North America. It relies on aggregation pheromones to colonize hosts. Its three major pheromone components, trans-verbenol, exo-brevicomin, and frontalin, are thought to arise via different metabolic pathways, but the enzymes involved have not been identified or characterized. We produced ESTs from male and female midguts and associated fat bodies and used custom oligonucleotide microarrays to study gene expression patterns and thereby made preliminary identification of pheromone-biosynthetic genes.