The biogenic amine octopamine and its biological precursor tyramine are thought to be the invertebrate functional homologues of the vertebrate adrenergic transmitters. Octopamine functions as a neuromodulator, neurotransmitter and neurohormone in insect nervous systems and prompts the whole organism to "dynamic action". A growing number of studies suggest a prominent role for octopamine in modulating multiple physiological and behavioural processes in invertebrates, as for example the phase transition in Schistocerca gregaria. Both octopamine and tyramine exert their effects by binding to specific receptor proteins that belong to the superfamily of G protein-coupled receptors. Since these receptors do not appear to be present in vertebrates, they may present very suitable and specific insecticide and acaricide targets.
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