Sequencing and characterizing odorant receptors of the cerambycid beetle Megacyllene caryae

Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2012 Jul;42(7):499-505. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2012.03.007. Epub 2012 Apr 5.


Odorant receptors (Ors) are a unique family of ligand-gated ion channels and the primary mechanism by which insects detect volatile chemicals. Here, we describe 57 putative Ors sequenced from an antennal transcriptome of the cerambycid beetle Megacyllene caryae (Gahan). The male beetles produce a pheromone blend of nine compovnents, and we functionally characterized Ors tuned to three of these chemicals: receptor McOr3 is sensitive to (S)-2-methyl-1-butanol; McOr20 is sensitive to (2S,3R)-2,3-hexanediol; and McOr5 is sensitive to 2-phenylethanol. McOr3 and McOr20 are also sensitive to structurally-related chemicals that are pheromones of other cerambycid beetles, suggesting that orthologous receptors may be present across many cerambycid species. These Ors are the first to be functionally characterized from any species of beetle and lay the groundwork for understanding the evolution of pheromones within the Cerambycidae.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthropod Antennae / drug effects
  • Arthropod Antennae / metabolism
  • Coleoptera / genetics*
  • Coleoptera / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Glycols / pharmacology
  • Insect Proteins / genetics*
  • Insect Proteins / metabolism
  • Ligand-Gated Ion Channels / metabolism
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation
  • Oocytes
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Pentanols / pharmacology
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / pharmacology
  • Phylogeny
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Receptors, Odorant / genetics*
  • Receptors, Odorant / metabolism
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Sex Attractants / pharmacology*
  • Xenopus laevis


  • 2,3-hexanediol
  • 2-methylbutanol
  • Glycols
  • Insect Proteins
  • Ligand-Gated Ion Channels
  • Pentanols
  • Receptors, Odorant
  • Sex Attractants
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol