Drosophila Chemoreceptors: A Molecular Interface Between the Chemical World and the Brain

Trends Genet. 2015 Dec;31(12):683-695. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2015.09.005. Epub 2015 Oct 22.


Chemoreception is essential for survival. Feeding, mating, and avoidance of predators depend on detection of sensory cues. Drosophila contains diverse families of chemoreceptors that detect odors, tastants, pheromones, and noxious stimuli, including receptors of the odor receptor (Or), gustatory receptor (Gr), ionotropic receptor (IR), Pickpocket (Ppk), and Trp families. We consider recent progress in understanding chemoreception in the fly, including the identification of new receptors, the discovery of novel biological functions for receptors, and the localization of receptors in unexpected places. We discuss major unsolved problems and suggest areas that may be particularly ripe for future discoveries, including the roles of these receptors in driving the circuits and behaviors that are essential to the survival and reproduction of the animal.

Keywords: gustatory receptor; ionotropic glutamate receptor; odor receptor; olfaction; olfactory receptor neuron; taste.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / physiology*
  • Smell
  • Taste


  • Receptors, Cell Surface