An antennal circadian clock and circadian rhythms in peripheral pheromone reception in the moth Spodoptera littoralis

J Biol Rhythms. 2007 Dec;22(6):502-14. doi: 10.1177/0748730407307737.


Circadian rhythms are observed in mating behaviors in moths: females emit sex pheromones and males are attracted by these pheromones in rhythmic fashions. In the moth Spodoptera littoralis, we demonstrated the occurrence of a circadian oscillator in the antenna, the peripheral olfactory organ. We identified different clock genes, period (per), cryptochrome1 (cry1) and cryptochrome2 (cry2), in this organ. Using quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR), we found that their corresponding transcripts cycled circadianly in the antenna as well as in the brain. Electroantennogram (EAG) recordings over 24 h demonstrated for the first time a circadian rhythm in antennal responses of a moth to sex pheromone. qPCR showed that out of one pheromone-binding protein (PBP), one olfactory receptor (OR), and one odorant-degrading enzyme (ODE), all putatively involved in the pheromone reception, only the ODE transcript presented a circadian rhythm that may be related to rhythms in olfactory signal resolution. Peripheral or central circadian clock control of olfaction is then discussed in light of recent data.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Biological Clocks*
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • DNA Primers
  • Darkness
  • Electrochemistry
  • Insect Proteins / chemistry
  • Insect Proteins / genetics
  • Insecta / classification
  • Insecta / genetics
  • Light
  • Male
  • Mice / classification
  • Mice / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Receptors, Pheromone / chemistry
  • Receptors, Pheromone / genetics
  • Receptors, Pheromone / physiology*
  • Smell / physiology
  • Spodoptera / classification
  • Spodoptera / genetics
  • Spodoptera / physiology*


  • DNA Primers
  • Insect Proteins
  • Receptors, Pheromone