The codling moth, Cydia pomonella, is an important fruit pest worldwide. As nocturnal animals, adults depend to a large extent on olfactory cues for detection of food and mates, and, for females, oviposition sites. In insects, odor detection is mediated by odorant receptors (ORs) and ionotropic receptors (IRs), which ensure the specificity of the olfactory sensory neuron responses. In this study, our aim was to identify chemosensory receptors in the codling moth as a means to uncover new targets for behavioral interference. Using next-generation sequencing techniques, we identified a total of 43 candidate ORs, one gustatory receptor and 15 IRs in the antennal transcriptome. Through Blast and sequence similarity analyses we annotated the insect obligatory co-receptor ORco, five genes clustering in a conserved clade containing sex pheromone receptors, one homolog of the Bombyx mori female-enriched receptor BmorOR30 (but no homologs of the other B. mori female-enriched receptors) and one gene clustering in the sugar receptor family. Among the candidate IRs, we identified homologs of the two highly conserved co-receptors IR8a and IR25a, and one homolog of an IR involved in phenylethyl amine detection in Drosophila. Our results open for functional characterization of the chemosensory receptors of C. pomonella, with potential for new or refined applications of semiochemicals for control of this pest insect.
Nocturnal insects such as moths are ideal models to study the molecular bases of olfaction that they use, among examples, for the detection of mating partners and host plants. Knowing how an odour generates a neuronal signal in insect antennae is crucial for understanding the physiological bases of olfaction, and also could lead to the identification of original targets for the development of olfactory-based control strategies against herbivorous moth pests. Here, we describe an Expressed Sequence Tag (EST) project to characterize the antennal transcriptome of the noctuid pest model, Spodoptera littoralis, and to identify candidate genes involved in odour/pheromone detection.
By targeting cDNAs from male antennae, we biased gene discovery towards genes potentially involved in male olfaction, including pheromone reception. A total of 20760 ESTs were obtained from a normalized library and were assembled in 9033 unigenes. 6530 were annotated based on BLAST analyses and gene prediction software identified 6738 ORFs. The unigenes were compared to the Bombyx mori proteome and to ESTs derived from Lepidoptera transcriptome projects. We identified a large number of candidate genes involved in odour and pheromone detection and turnover, including 31 candidate chemosensory receptor genes, but also genes potentially involved in olfactory modulation.
Our project has generated a large collection of antennal transcripts from a Lepidoptera. The normalization process, allowing enrichment in low abundant genes, proved to be particularly relevant to identify chemosensory receptors in a species for which no genomic data are available. Our results also suggest that olfactory modulation can take place at the level of the antennae itself. These EST resources will be invaluable for exploring the mechanisms of olfaction and pheromone detection in S. littoralis, and for ultimately identifying original targets to fight against moth herbivorous pests.
Chemical senses are crucial for all organisms to detect various environmental information. Different protein families, expressed in chemosensory organs, are involved in the detection of this information, such as odorant-binding proteins, olfactory and gustatory receptors, and ionotropic receptors. We recently reported an Expressed Sequence Tag (EST) approach on male antennae of the noctuid moth, Spodoptera littoralis, with which we could identify a large array of chemosensory genes in a species for which no genomic data are available.
Here we describe a complementary EST project on female antennae in the same species. 18,342 ESTs were sequenced and their assembly with our previous male ESTs led to a total of 13,685 unigenes, greatly improving our description of the S. littoralis antennal transcriptome. Gene ontology comparison between male and female data suggested a similar complexity of antennae of both sexes. Focusing on chemosensation, we identified 26 odorant-binding proteins, 36 olfactory and 5 gustatory receptors, expressed in the antennae of S. littoralis. One of the newly identified gustatory receptors appeared as female-enriched. Together with its atypical tissue-distribution, this suggests a role in oviposition. The compilation of male and female antennal ESTs represents a valuable resource for exploring the mechanisms of olfaction in S. littoralis.
Olfactory receptor; Gustatory receptor; Odorant-binding protein; Expressed sequence tag; Lepidoptera; Spodoptera littoralis.
Within insect species, olfactory signals play a vital role in communication, particularly in the context of mating. During courtship, males of many moth species release pheromones that function as aphrodisiacs for conspecific females, or repellants to competing conspecific males. The physiology and antennal lobe projections are described of olfactory receptor neurons within an antennal sensillum present on male Heliothis virescens F. (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) moths sensitive to conspecific male H. virescens-produced pheromone components. Olfactory receptor neurons responded to hexadecanyl acetate and octadecanyl acetate hairpencil components, and Z11-hexadecenyl acetate, an odorant used by closely related heliothine species in their female produced pheromone, which is antagonistic to male H. virescens responses. This acetate-sensitive sensillum appears homologous to a sensillum type previously described in females of this species, sharing similar physiology and glomerular projection targets within the antennal lobe. Wind tunnel observations indicate that H. virescens hairpencil odors (hexadecanyl acetate, octadecanyl acetate) function to antagonize responses of conspecific males following a female sex pheromone plume. Thus, male-male flight antagonism in H. virescens appears to be mediated by this particular sensillum type.
Heliothis virescens; Lepidoptera; courtship; behavioral antagonist; cobalt-lysine staining; antennal lobe; olfactory receptor neuron
Cotesia vestalis is an endoparasitic wasp that attacks larvae of the diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella), a herbivore of cruciferous plants. Females of C. vestalis use herbivore-induced plant odorants released from plants infested by P. xylostella as a host-searching cue. Transcriptome pyrosequencing was used to identify genes in the antennae of C. vestalis adult females coding for odorant receptors (ORs) and odorant binding proteins (OBPs) involved in insect olfactory perception. Quantitative gene expression analyses showed that a few OR and OBP genes were expressed exclusively in the antenna of C. vestalis adult females whereas most other classes of genes were expressed in the antennae of both males and females, indicating their diversity in importance for the olfactory sensory system. Together, transcriptome profiling of C. vestalis genes involved in the antennal odorant-sensory system helps in detecting genes involved in host- and food-search behaviors through infochemically-mediated interactions.
To better understand the olfactory mechanisms in a lepidopteran pest model species, the cotton leafworm Spodoptera littoralis, we have recently established a partial transcriptome from adult antennae. Here, we completed this transcriptome using next generation sequencing technologies, namely 454 and Illumina, on both adult antennae and larval tissues, including caterpillar antennae and maxillary palps. All sequences were assembled in 77,643 contigs. Their analysis greatly enriched the repertoire of chemosensory genes in this species, with a total of 57 candidate odorant-binding and chemosensory proteins, 47 olfactory receptors, 6 gustatory receptors and 17 ionotropic receptors. Using RT-PCR, we conducted the first exhaustive comparison of olfactory gene expression between larvae and adults in a lepidopteran species. All the 127 candidate olfactory genes were profiled for expression in male and female adult antennae and in caterpillar antennae and maxillary palps. We found that caterpillars expressed a smaller set of olfactory genes than adults, with a large overlap between these two developmental stages. Two binding proteins appeared to be larvae-specific and two others were adult-specific. Interestingly, comparison between caterpillar antennae and maxillary palps revealed numerous organ-specific transcripts, suggesting the complementary involvement of these two organs in larval chemosensory detection. Adult males and females shared the same set of olfactory transcripts, except two male-specific candidate pheromone receptors, two male-specific and two female-specific odorant-binding proteins. This study identified transcripts that may be important for sex-specific or developmental stage-specific chemosensory behaviors.
Most animals including insects rely on olfaction to find their mating partners. In moths, males are attracted by female-produced sex pheromones inducing stereotyped sexual behavior. The behaviorally relevant olfactory information is processed in the primary olfactory centre, the antennal lobe (AL). Evidence is now accumulating that modulation of sex-linked behavioral output occurs through neuronal plasticity via the action of hormones and/or catecholamines. A G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) binding to 20-hydroxyecdysone, the main insect steroid hormone, and dopamine, has been identified in Drosophila (DmDopEcR), and was suggested to modulate neuronal signaling. In the male moth Agrotis ipsilon, the behavioral and central nervous responses to pheromone are age-dependent. To further unveil the mechanisms of this olfactory plasticity, we searched for DopEcR and tested its potential role in the behavioral response to sex pheromone in A. ipsilon males. Our results show that A. ipsilon DopEcR (named AipsDopEcR) is predominantly expressed in the nervous system. The corresponding protein was detected immunohistochemically in the ALs and higher brain centers including the mushroom bodies. Moreover, AipsDopEcR expression increased with age. Using a strategy of RNA interference, we also show that silencing of AipsDopEcR inhibited the behavioral response to sex pheromone in wind tunnel experiments. Altogether our results indicate that this GPCR is involved in the expression of sexual behavior in the male moth, probably by modulating the central nervous processing of sex pheromone through the action of one or both of its ligands.
Insects rely on olfaction to locate food, mates, and suitable oviposition sites for successful completion of their life cycle. Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (emerald ash borer) is a serious invasive insect pest that has killed tens of millions of North American ash (Fraxinus spp) trees and threatens the very existence of the genus Fraxinus. Adult A. planipennis are attracted to host volatiles and conspecifics; however, to date no molecular knowledge exists on olfaction in A. planipennis. Hence, we undertook an antennae-specific transcriptomic study to identify the repertoire of odor processing genes involved in A. planipennis olfaction.
Methodology and Principal Findings
We acquired 139,085 Roche/454 GS FLX transcriptomic reads that were assembled into 30,615 high quality expressed sequence tags (ESTs), including 3,249 isotigs and 27,366 non-isotigs (contigs and singletons). Intriguingly, the majority of the A. planipennis antennal transcripts (59.72%) did not show similarity with sequences deposited in the non-redundant database of GenBank, potentially representing novel genes. Functional annotation and KEGG analysis revealed pathways associated with signaling and detoxification. Several odor processing genes (9 odorant binding proteins, 2 odorant receptors, 1 sensory neuron membrane protein and 134 odorant/xenobiotic degradation enzymes, including cytochrome P450s, glutathione-S-transferases; esterases, etc.) putatively involved in olfaction processes were identified. Quantitative PCR of candidate genes in male and female A. planipennis in different developmental stages revealed developmental- and sex-biased expression patterns.
Conclusions and Significance
The antennal ESTs derived from A. planipennis constitute a rich molecular resource for the identification of genes potentially involved in the olfaction process of A. planipennis. These findings should help in understanding the processing of antennally-active compounds (e.g. 7-epi-sesquithujene) previously identified in this serious invasive pest.
In many insects, mate finding relies on female-released sex pheromones, which have to be deciphered by the male olfactory system within an odorous background of plant volatiles present in the environment of a calling female. With respect to pheromone-mediated mate localization, plant odorants may be neutral, favorable, or disturbing. Here we examined the impact of plant odorants on detection and coding of the major sex pheromone component, (Z)-11-hexadecenal (Z11-16:Ald) in the noctuid moth Heliothis virescens. By in vivo imaging the activity in the male antennal lobe (AL), we monitored the interference at the level of olfactory sensory neurons (OSN) to illuminate mixture interactions. The results show that stimulating the male antenna with Z11-16:Ald and distinct plant-related odorants simultaneously suppressed pheromone-evoked activity in the region of the macroglomerular complex (MGC), where Z11-16:Ald-specific OSNs terminate. Based on our previous findings that antennal detection of Z11-16:Ald involves an interplay of the pheromone binding protein (PBP) HvirPBP2 and the pheromone receptor (PR) HR13, we asked if the plant odorants may interfere with any of the elements involved in pheromone detection. Using a competitive fluorescence binding assay, we found that the plant odorants neither bind to HvirPBP2 nor affect the binding of Z11-16:Ald to the protein. However, imaging experiments analyzing a cell line that expressed the receptor HR13 revealed that plant odorants significantly inhibited the Z11-16:Ald-evoked calcium responses. Together the results indicate that plant odorants can interfere with the signaling process of the major sex pheromone component at the receptor level. Consequently, it can be assumed that plant odorants in the environment may reduce the firing activity of pheromone-specific OSNs in H. virescens and thus affect mate localization.
pheromone detection; antennal lobe; pheromone receptor; pheromone binding protein; olfaction
Male moths can accurately perceive the sex pheromone emitted from conspecific females by their highly accurate and specific olfactory sensory system. Pheromone receptors are of special importance in moth pheromone reception because of their central role in chemosensory signal transduction processes that occur in olfactory receptor neurons in the male antennae. There are a number of pheromone receptor genes have been cloned, however, only a few have been functionally characterized. Here we cloned six full-length pheromone receptor genes from Helicoverpa armigera male antennae. Real-time PCR showing all genes exhibited male-biased expression in adult antennae. Functional analyses of the six pheromone receptor genes were then conducted in the heterologous expression system of Xenopus oocytes. HarmOR13 was found to be a specific receptor for the major sex pheromone component Z11-16:Ald. HarmOR6 was equally tuned to both of Z9-16: Ald and Z9-14: Ald. HarmOR16 was sensitively tuned to Z11-16: OH. HarmOR11, HarmOR14 and HarmOR15 failed to respond to the tested candidate pheromone compounds. Our experiments elucidated the functions of some pheromone receptor genes of H. armigera. These advances may provide remarkable evidence for intraspecific mating choice and speciation extension in moths at molecular level.
The European spruce bark beetle, Ips typographus, and the North American mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae), are severe pests of coniferous forests. Both bark beetle species utilize aggregation pheromones to coordinate mass-attacks on host trees, while odorants from host and non-host trees modulate the pheromone response. Thus, the bark beetle olfactory sense is of utmost importance for fitness. However, information on the genes underlying olfactory detection has been lacking in bark beetles and is limited in Coleoptera. We assembled antennal transcriptomes from next-generation sequencing of I. typographus and D. ponderosae to identify members of the major chemosensory multi-gene families.
Gene ontology (GO) annotation indicated that the relative abundance of transcripts associated with specific GO terms was highly similar in the two species. Transcripts with terms related to olfactory function were found in both species. Focusing on the chemosensory gene families, we identified 15 putative odorant binding proteins (OBP), 6 chemosensory proteins (CSP), 3 sensory neuron membrane proteins (SNMP), 43 odorant receptors (OR), 6 gustatory receptors (GR), and 7 ionotropic receptors (IR) in I. typographus; and 31 putative OBPs, 11 CSPs, 3 SNMPs, 49 ORs, 2 GRs, and 15 IRs in D. ponderosae. Predicted protein sequences were compared with counterparts in the flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, the cerambycid beetle, Megacyllene caryae, and the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. The most notable result was found among the ORs, for which large bark beetle-specific expansions were found. However, some clades contained receptors from all four beetle species, indicating a degree of conservation among some coleopteran OR lineages. Putative GRs for carbon dioxide and orthologues for the conserved antennal IRs were included in the identified receptor sets.
The protein families important for chemoreception have now been identified in three coleopteran species (four species for the ORs). Thus, this study allows for improved evolutionary analyses of coleopteran olfaction. Identification of these proteins in two of the most destructive forest pests, sharing many semiochemicals, is especially important as they might represent novel targets for population control.
Ips typographus; Dendroctonus ponderosae; Gene ontology; Transcriptome; Odorant receptor; Ionotropic receptor; Gustatory receptor; Odorant binding protein; Chemosensory Protein; Sensory neuron membrane protein
The relative proportions of components in a pheromone blend play a major role in sexual recognition in moths. Two sympatric species, Helicoverpa armigera and Helicoverpa assulta, use (Z)-11-hexadecenal (Z11–16: Ald) and (Z)-9-hexadecenal (Z9–16: Ald) as essential sex pheromone components but in very different ratios, 97∶3 and 7∶93 respectively. Using wind tunnel tests, single sensillum recording and in vivo calcium imaging, we comparatively studied behavioral responses and physiological activities at the level of antennal sensilla and antennal lobe (AL) in males of the two species to blends of the two pheromone components in different ratios (100∶0, 97∶3, 50∶50, 7∶93, 0∶100). Z11–16: Ald and Z9–16: Ald were recognized by two populations of olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) in different trichoid sensilla on antennae of both species. The ratios of OSNs responding to Z11–16:Ald and Z9–16:Ald OSNs were 100∶28.9 and 21.9∶100 in H. armigera and H. assulta, respectively. The Z11–16:Ald OSNs in H. armigera exhibited higher sensitivity and efficacy than those in H. assulta, while the Z9–16:Ald OSNs in H. armigera had the same sensitivity but lower efficacy than those in H. assulta. At the dosage of 10 µg, Z11–16: Ald and Z9–16: Ald evoked calcium activity in 8.5% and 3.0% of the AL surface in H. armigera, while 5.4% and 8.6% of AL in H. assulta, respectively. The calcium activities in the AL reflected the peripheral input signals of the binary pheromone mixtures and correlated with the behavioral output. These results demonstrate that the binary pheromone blends were precisely coded by the firing frequency of individual OSNs tuned to Z11–16: Ald or Z9–16: Ald, as well as their population sizes. Such information was then accurately reported to ALs of H. armigera and H. assulta, eventually producing different behaviors.
Odorant-binding proteins (OBPs) mediate both perception and release of semiochemicals in insects. These proteins are the ideal targets for understanding the olfactory code of insects as well as for interfering with their communication system in order to control pest species. The two sibling Lepidopteran species Helicoverpa armigera and H. assulta are two major agricultural pests. As part of our aim to characterize the OBP repertoire of these two species, here we focus our attention on a member of this family, OBP10, particularly interesting for its expression pattern. The protein is specifically expressed in the antennae of both sexes, being absent from other sensory organs. However, it is highly abundant in seminal fluid, is transferred to females during mating and is eventually found on the surface of fertilised eggs. Among the several different volatile compounds present in reproductive organs, OBP10 binds 1-dodecene, a compound reported as an insect repellent. These results have been verified in both H. armigera and H. assulta with no apparent differences between the two species. The recombinant OBP10 binds, besides 1-dodecene, some linear alcohols and several aromatic compounds. The structural similarity of OBP10 with OBP1 of the mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus, a protein reported to bind an oviposition pheromone, and its affinity with 1-dodecene suggest that OBP10 could be a carrier for oviposition deterrents, favouring spreading of the eggs in these species where cannibalism is active among larvae.
Chrysopa pallens (Rambur) are the most important natural enemies and predators of various agricultural pests. Understanding the sophisticated olfactory system in insect antennae is crucial for studying the physiological bases of olfaction and also could lead to effective applications of C. pallens in integrated pest management. However no transcriptome information is available for Neuroptera, and sequence data for C. pallens are scarce, so obtaining more sequence data is a priority for researchers on this species.
To facilitate identifying sets of genes involved in olfaction, a normalized transcriptome of C. pallens was sequenced. A total of 104,603 contigs were obtained and assembled into 10,662 clusters and 39,734 singletons; 20,524 were annotated based on BLASTX analyses. A large number of candidate chemosensory genes were identified, including 14 odorant-binding proteins (OBPs), 22 chemosensory proteins (CSPs), 16 ionotropic receptors, 14 odorant receptors, and genes potentially involved in olfactory modulation. To better understand the OBPs, CSPs and cytochrome P450s, phylogenetic trees were constructed. In addition, 10 digital gene expression libraries of different tissues were constructed and gene expression profiles were compared among different tissues in males and females.
Our results provide a basis for exploring the mechanisms of chemoreception in C. pallens, as well as other insects. The evolutionary analyses in our study provide new insights into the differentiation and evolution of insect OBPs and CSPs. Our study provided large-scale sequence information for further studies in C. pallens.
A combination of gene silencing and behavioral studies in the malaria vector mosquito Anopheles gambiae sheds light on the olfactory basis of DEET repulsion as well as reveals the role of another family of chemosensory receptors that facilitate olfaction in An. gambiae.
Anopheles gambiae is the principal Afrotropical vector for human malaria, in which olfaction mediates a wide range of both adult and larval behaviors. Indeed, mosquitoes depend on the ability to respond to chemical cues for feeding, host preference, and mate location/selection. Building upon previous work that has characterized a large family of An. gambiae odorant receptors (AgORs), we now use behavioral analyses and gene silencing to examine directly the role of AgORs, as well as a newly identified family of candidate chemosensory genes, the An. gambiae variant ionotropic receptors (AgIRs), in the larval olfactory system. Our results validate previous studies that directly implicate specific AgORs in behavioral responses to DEET as well as other odorants and reveal the existence of at least two distinct olfactory signaling pathways that are active in An. gambiae. One system depends directly on AgORs; the other is AgOR-independent and requires the expression and activity of AgIRs. In addition to clarifying the mechanistic basis for olfaction in this system, these advances may ultimately enhance the development of vector control strategies, targeting olfactory pathways in mosquitoes to reduce the catastrophic effects of malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases.
Anopheles gambiae, the principal Afrotropical mosquito vector for human malaria, uses olfaction to respond to chemical cues that are required for feeding, host preference, and mate selection. At the heart of this process is a large family of An. gambiae odorant receptors (AgORs) that respond to these olfactory cues in peripheral sensory neurons. We have now taken advantage of the relative simplicity of the larval olfactory system to develop a novel behavioral paradigm for individual larva that has been used together with gene silencing approaches in vivo to examine directly the role of AgORs in the olfactory system of An. gambiae. In addition to supporting and extending previous studies on the general olfactory response properties of AgORs, our data directly implicate the activity of specific AgORs in mediating the behavioral responses to the commercial insect repellent DEET and reveal the existence of at least two distinct olfactory signaling pathways in An. gambiae. One system depends directly on AgORs, while the other is AgOR-independent and requires the expression and activity of a newly identified family of candidate chemosensory genes, the An. gambiae variant ionotropic receptors (AgIRs). In addition to clarifying the mechanistic basis for olfaction in this system and the basis of DEET repulsion, these advances may ultimately enhance the development of vector control strategies, targeting olfactory pathways in mosquitoes to reduce the catastrophic effects of malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases.
Courtship behaviour involves a complex exchange of signals and responses. These are usually studied at the phenotypic level, and genetic or transcriptional responses to courtship are still poorly understood. Here, we examine the gene-expression changes in Drosophila melanogaster females in response to one of the key male courtship signals in mate recognition, song produced by male wing vibration. Using long oligonucleotide microarrays, we identified several genes that responded differentially to the presence or absence of acoustic courtship stimulus. These changes were modest in both the number of genes involved and fold-changes, but notably dominated by antennal signalling genes involved in olfaction as well as neuropeptides and immune response genes. Second, we compared the expression patterns of females stimulated with synthetic song typical of either conspecific or heterospecific (Drosophila simulans) males. In this case, antennal olfactory signalling and innate immunity genes were also enriched among the differentially expressed genes. We confirmed and investigated the time course of expression differences of two identified immunity genes using real-time quantitative PCR. Our results provide novel insight into specific molecular changes in females in response to courtship song stimulation. These may be involved in both signal perception and interpretation and some may anticipate molecular interactions that occur between the sexes after mating.
Drosophila melanogaster; gene expression; microarray; courtship song; Turandot
Pheromone-degrading enzymes (PDEs) are supposed to be involved in the signal inactivation step within the olfactory sensilla of insects by quickly degrading pheromone molecules. Because esters are widespread insect pheromone components, PDEs belonging to the carboxylesterase (CCE) family have been the most studied. However, only two CCEs were both identified at the molecular level and functionally characterized as PDEs until recently. In the pest moth Spodoptera littoralis, we have identified an unsuspected diversity of antennal CCEs, with a total number of 30 genes. Two CCEs, enriched in antennae and belonging to distinct clades, were shown to present different substrate specificities toward pheromone and plant compounds. A same CCE was also shown to efficiently degrade both pheromone and plant components. Our results suggest that the structural evolution of antennal CCEs reflects their functional diversity and that a complex set of CCE-mediated reactions take place is the olfactory organs of moths.
lepidoptera; noctuidae; olfaction; carboxylesterase; odorant-degrading enzymes; pheromone
The antennal imaginal disc was transplanted between pre-metamorphic male larvae of two different Lepidopteran moth species. Following adult eclosion, electrophysiological recordings were made from 33 central olfactory neurons in the antennal lobes of both Helicoverpa zea donor to Heliothis virescens recipient (Z-V) and reciprocal (V-Z) transplants. Under the influence of sensory neuron input derived from the transplanted antennal imaginal disc, most antennal lobe projection neurons (29/33) were classified as belonging to physiological categories encountered previously in donor species males. Furthermore, when stained, many of these neurons had dendritic arbors restricted to donor-induced glomerular locations predicted by their physiology. However, some neurons with unexpected physiological profiles were also identified (4/33), but only in V-Z transplants. These profiles help to explain why some V-Z bilateral transplants were able to respond to both pheromone blends in flight tunnel bioassays, an unforeseen result counter to the assumption that a donor antenna develops a normal donor antennal olfactory receptor neuron compliment. Stainings of several neurons in V-Z transplant males also revealed unusual morphological features including multiglomerular dendritic arbors and “incorrect” glomerular locations. These results indicate a developmental plasticity in the final dendritic arborization pattern of central olfactory neurons including an ability to colonize and integrate inputs across topographically novel donor glomeruli, different from those found in the normal recipient antennal lobe.
olfaction; antennal lobe; glomerulus; Heliothis virescens; Helicoverpa zea; behavior; pheromone; imaginal disc
Olfactory signals are transduced by a large family of odorant receptor proteins, each of which corresponds to a unique glomerulus in the first olfactory relay of the brain. Cross-talk between glomeruli has been proposed to be important in olfactory processing, but it is not clear how these interactions shape the odor responses of second-order neurons. In the Drosophila antennal lobe (a region analogous to the vertebrate olfactory bulb), we selectively remove most inter-glomerular input to identified second-order olfactory neurons. We find this broadens the odor tuning of these neurons, implying that inter-glomerular inhibition dominates over inter-glomerular excitation. The strength of this inhibitory signal scales with total feedforward input to the entire antennal lobe, and has similar tuning in different glomeruli. A substantial portion of this inter-glomerular inhibition acts at a presynaptic locus, and our results imply this is mediated by both GABAA and GABAB receptors on the same nerve terminal.
Each down stroke of an insect's wings accelerates axial airflow over the antennae. Modeling studies suggest that this can greatly enhance penetration of air and air-born odorants through the antennal sensilla thereby periodically increasing odorant-receptor interactions. Do these periodic changes result in entrainment of neural responses in the antenna and antennal lobe (AL)? Does this entrainment affect olfactory acuity? To address these questions, we monitored antennal and AL responses in the moth Manduca sexta while odorants were pulsed at frequencies from 10–72 Hz, encompassing the natural wingbeat frequency. Power spectral density (PSD) analysis was used to identify entrainment of neural activity. Statistical analysis of PSDs indicates that the antennal nerve tracked pulsed odor up to 30 Hz. Furthermore, at least 50% of AL local field potentials (LFPs) and between 7–25% of unitary spiking responses also tracked pulsed odor up to 30 Hz in a frequency-locked manner. Application of bicuculline (200 μM) abolished pulse tracking in both LFP and unitary responses suggesting that GABAA receptor activation is necessary for pulse tracking within the AL. Finally, psychophysical measures of odor detection establish that detection thresholds are lowered when odor is pulsed at 20 Hz. These results suggest that AL networks can respond to the oscillatory dynamics of stimuli such as those imposed by the wing beat in a manner analogous to mammalian sniffing.
olfaction; oscillations; synchrony; GABA; antennal lobe; olfactory bulb; sniffing; sensory sampling
In the olfactory pathway of Drosophila, a GABAB receptor mediated presynaptic gain control mechanism at the first synapse between olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) and projection neurons has been suggested to play a critical role in setting the sensitivity and detection range of the sensory system. To approach the question if such a mechanism may be realized in the pheromone recognition system of male moths in this study attempts were made to explore if moth's pheromone-responsive cells express a GABAB- receptor. Employing a combination of genome analysis, RT-PCR experiments and screening of an antennal cDNA library we have identified a cDNA which encodes the GABAB-R1 receptor of Heliothis virescens. Moreover, based on the HvirGABAB-R1 sequence we could predict a GABAB-R1 protein from genome sequences of the silkmoth Bombyx mori. To assess whether HvirGABAB-R1 is expressed in OSNs of male antenna we performed whole-mount in situ hybridization (WM-ISH) experiments. Several HvirGABAB-R1 positive cells were visualized under long sensilla trichodea, known to contain pheromone-responsive OSNs. In parallel it was shown that cells under long trichoid hairs were labelled with pheromone receptor specific probes. In addition, the HvirGABAB-R1 specific probe also labelled several cells under shorter olfactory sensilla, but never stained cells under mechanosensory/gustatory sensilla chaetica. Together, the results indicate that a GABAB receptor is expressed in pheromone-responsive OSNs of H. virescens and suggest a presynaptic gain control mechanism in the axon terminals of these cells.
moth; olfaction; GABA; pheromone; in situ hybridization.
Nitric oxide has been shown to regulate many biological systems including olfaction. In the moth olfactory system nitric oxide is produced in the antennal lobe in response to odor stimulation and has complex effects on the activity of both projection neurons and local interneurons. To examine the cell autonomous effects of nitric oxide on these cells, we used patch-clamp recording in conjunction with pharmacological manipulation of nitric oxide to test the hypothesis that nitric oxide differentially regulates the channel properties of these different antennal lobe neuron subsets. We found that nitric oxide caused increasing inward currents in a subset of projection neurons while the effects on local neurons were variable but consistent within identifiable morphological subtypes.
The olfactory system meets niche- and species-specific demands by an accelerated evolution of its odorant receptor repertoires. In this review, we describe evolutionary processes that have shaped olfactory and vomeronasal receptor gene families in vertebrate genomes. We emphasize three important periods in the evolution of the olfactory system evident by comparative genomics: the adaptation to land in amphibian ancestors, the decline of olfaction in primates, and the delineation of putative pheromone receptors concurrent with rodent speciation. The rapid evolution of odorant receptor genes, the sheer size of the repertoire, as well as their wide distribution in the genome, presents a developmental challenge: how are these ever-changing odorant receptor repertoires coordinated within the olfactory system? A central organizing principle in olfaction is the specialization of sensory neurons resulting from each sensory neuron expressing only ~one odorant receptor allele. In this review, we also discuss this mutually exclusive expression of odorant receptor genes. We have considered several models to account for co-regulation of odorant receptor repertoires, as well as discussed a new hypothesis that invokes important epigenetic properties of the system.
Oviposition attractants are environmental cues that allow Culex gravid female mosquitoes to locate suitable sites for egg-laying and, therefore, may be exploited for environmentally friendly strategies for controlling mosquito populations. Naturally occurring skatole has been identified as an oviposition attractant for the Southern House mosquito, Culex quinquefasciatus. Previously, we identified in Cx. quinquefasciatus female antennae an olfactory receptor neuron (ORN) highly sensitive to skatole and an odorant-binding protein involved in the detection of this semiochemical. Here, we describe the characterization of an odorant receptor (OR), CquiOR10, which is narrowly tuned to skatole when expressed in the Xenopus oocyte system. Odorant-induced response profiles generated by heterologously expressed CquiOR10 suggest that this OR is expressed in the mosquito ORN sensitive to skatole. However, geranylacetone, which stimulates the antennal ORN, was not detected by CquiOR10-expressing oocytes, thus raising interesting questions about reception of oviposition attractants in mosquitoes.
Odorant receptor; CquiOR10; Culex quinquefasciatus; Xenopus oocyte expression system; 3-Methylindole; 2-Methylphenol
We have characterized, by intracellular recording and staining combined with immunocytochemistry, a serotonin-immunoreactive neuron in the central olfactory pathway of the male moth Helicoverpa assulta. The neuron joins the unique category of so-called SI antennal-lobe neurons, previously described in several insect species. In similarity with that originally discovered in the sphinx moth Manduca sexta, the neuron identified here has a large soma located posteriorly in the lateral cell cluster of the antennal lobe and an unbranched neurite projecting into the ipsilateral protocerebrum via the inner antennocerebral tract. After bypassing the central body, the axon crosses the midline and extends through the corresponding antennocerebral tract to the contralateral antennal lobe where it innervates the entire assembly of glomeruli including the male-specific macroglomerular complex. The neuron arborizes into several fine branches in bilateral protocerebral regions anterior to the calyces of the mushroom bodies, particularly on the contralateral side. The physiology of the neuron revealed 2 distinctly different spiking amplitudes, 1 small showing a relatively high spontaneous activity and 1 large showing low activity. The small-amplitude spikes displayed increased frequency when pheromones and plant odors were blown over the antenna. The large-amplitude spikes, which had an unusually long duration, showed no observable responses.
biogenic amine; centrifugal neuron; heliothine moth; 5-hydroxytryptamine; olfactory system; two spiking amplitudes