Insect odor and taste receptors

Annu Rev Entomol. 2006:51:113-35. doi: 10.1146/annurev.ento.51.051705.113646.


Insect odor and taste receptors are highly sensitive detectors of food, mates, and oviposition sites. Following the identification of the first insect odor and taste receptors in Drosophila melanogaster, these receptors were identified in a number of other insects, including the malaria vector mosquito Anopheles gambiae; the silk moth, Bombyx mori; and the tobacco budworm, Heliothis virescens. The chemical specificities of many of the D. melanogaster receptors, as well as a few of the A. gambiae and B. mori receptors, have now been determined either by analysis of deletion mutants or by ectopic expression in in vivo or heterologous expression systems. Here we discuss recent advances in our understanding of the molecular and cellular basis of odor and taste coding in insects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology
  • Chemoreceptor Cells / physiology
  • Culicidae / physiology
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / physiology
  • Gene Expression / physiology
  • Genes, Insect / genetics
  • Genes, Insect / physiology
  • Genome, Insect
  • Insecta / physiology*
  • Larva / physiology
  • Moths / physiology
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / physiology
  • Pheromones / metabolism
  • Receptors, Odorant / genetics
  • Receptors, Odorant / physiology
  • Smell / genetics
  • Smell / physiology*
  • Taste / genetics
  • Taste / physiology*


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Orco protein, Drosophila
  • Pheromones
  • Receptors, Odorant