Odorant reception in insects: roles of receptors, binding proteins, and degrading enzymes

Annu Rev Entomol. 2013;58:373-91. doi: 10.1146/annurev-ento-120811-153635. Epub 2012 Sep 27.

Abstract

Our knowledge of the molecular basis of odorant reception in insects has grown exponentially over the past decade. Odorant receptors (ORs) from moths, fruit flies, mosquitoes, and the honey bees have been deorphanized, odorant-degrading enzymes (ODEs) have been isolated, and the functions of odorant-binding proteins (OBPs) have been unveiled. OBPs contribute to the sensitivity of the olfactory system by transporting odorants through the sensillar lymph, but there are competing hypotheses on how they act at the end of the journey. A few ODEs that have been demonstrated to degrade odorants rapidly may act in signal inactivation alone or in combination with other molecular traps. Although ORs in Drosophila melanogaster respond to multiple odorants and seem to work in combinatorial code involving both periphery and antennal lobes, reception of sex pheromones by moth ORs suggests that their labeled lines rely heavily on selectivity at the periphery.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Insecta / genetics
  • Insecta / physiology*
  • Olfactory Perception*
  • Pheromones / genetics
  • Pheromones / metabolism
  • Receptors, Odorant / genetics
  • Receptors, Odorant / metabolism*

Substances

  • Carrier Proteins
  • Pheromones
  • Receptors, Odorant