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1.  A carboxylesterase, Esterase-6, modulates sensory physiological and behavioral response dynamics to pheromone in Drosophila 
BMC Biology  2012;10:56.
Background
Insects respond to the spatial and temporal dynamics of a pheromone plume, which implies not only a strong response to 'odor on', but also to 'odor off'. This requires mechanisms geared toward a fast signal termination. Several mechanisms may contribute to signal termination, among which odorant-degrading enzymes. These enzymes putatively play a role in signal dynamics by a rapid inactivation of odorants in the vicinity of the sensory receptors, although direct in vivo experimental evidences are lacking. Here we verified the role of an extracellular carboxylesterase, esterase-6 (Est-6), in the sensory physiological and behavioral dynamics of Drosophila melanogaster response to its pheromone, cis-vaccenyl acetate (cVA). Est-6 was previously linked to post-mating effects in the reproductive system of females. As Est-6 is also known to hydrolyze cVA in vitro and is expressed in the main olfactory organ, the antenna, we tested here its role in olfaction as a putative odorant-degrading enzyme.
Results
We first confirm that Est-6 is highly expressed in olfactory sensilla, including cVA-sensitive sensilla, and we show that expression is likely associated with non-neuronal cells. Our electrophysiological approaches show that the dynamics of olfactory receptor neuron (ORN) responses is strongly influenced by Est-6, as in Est-6° null mutants (lacking the Est-6 gene) cVA-sensitive ORN showed increased firing rate and prolonged activity in response to cVA. Est-6° mutant males had a lower threshold of behavioral response to cVA, as revealed by the analysis of two cVA-induced behaviors. In particular, mutant males exhibited a strong decrease of male-male courtship, in association with a delay in courtship initiation.
Conclusions
Our study presents evidence that Est-6 plays a role in the physiological and behavioral dynamics of sex pheromone response in Drosophila males and supports a role of Est-6 as an odorant-degrading enzyme (ODE) in male antennae. Our results also expand the role of Est-6 in Drosophila biology, from reproduction to olfaction, and highlight the role of ODEs in insect olfaction.
doi:10.1186/1741-7007-10-56
PMCID: PMC3414785  PMID: 22715942
carboxylesterase; esterase 6; olfaction; pheromone; signal termination
2.  Antennal carboxylesterases in a moth, structural and functional diversity 
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.
doi:10.4161/cib.19701
PMCID: PMC3419116  PMID: 22896794
lepidoptera; noctuidae; olfaction; carboxylesterase; odorant-degrading enzymes; pheromone
3.  Anopheles Gambiae PRS1 Modulates Plasmodium Development at Both Midgut and Salivary Gland Steps 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(7):e11538.
Background
Invasion of the mosquito salivary glands by Plasmodium is a critical step for malaria transmission. From a SAGE analysis, we previously identified several genes whose expression in salivary glands was regulated coincident with sporozoite invasion of salivary glands. To get insights into the consequences of these salivary gland responses, here we have studied one of the genes, PRS1 (Plasmodium responsive salivary 1), whose expression was upregulated in infected glands, using immunolocalization and functional inactivation approaches.
Methodology/Principal Findings
PRS1 belongs to a novel insect superfamily of genes encoding proteins with DM9 repeat motifs of uncharacterized function. We show that PRS1 is induced in response to Plasmodium, not only in the salivary glands but also in the midgut, the other epithelial barrier that Plasmodium has to cross to develop in the mosquito. Furthermore, this induction is observed using either the rodent parasite Plasmodium berghei or the human pathogen Plasmodium falciparum. In the midgut, PRS1 overexpression is associated with a relocalization of the protein at the periphery of invaded cells. We also find that sporozoite invasion of salivary gland cells occurs sequentially and induces intra-cellular modifications that include an increase in PRS1 expression and a relocalization of the corresponding protein into vesicle-like structures. Importantly, PRS1 knockdown during the onset of midgut and salivary gland invasion demonstrates that PRS1 acts as an agonist for the development of both parasite species in the two epithelia, highlighting shared vector/parasite interactions in both tissues.
Conclusions/Significance
While providing insights into potential functions of DM9 proteins, our results reveal that PRS1 likely contributes to fundamental interactions between Plasmodium and mosquito epithelia, which do not depend on the specific Anopheles/P. falciparum coevolutionary history.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011538
PMCID: PMC2902509  PMID: 20634948
4.  Serial Analysis of Gene Expression in Plasmodium berghei salivary gland sporozoites 
BMC Genomics  2007;8:466.
Background
The invasion of Anopheles salivary glands by Plasmodium sporozoites is an essential step for transmission of the parasite to the vertebrate host. Salivary gland sporozoites undergo a developmental programme to express genes required for their journey from the site of the mosquito bite to the liver and subsequent invasion of, and development within, hepatocytes. A Serial Analysis of Gene Expression was performed on Anopheles gambiae salivary glands infected or not with Plasmodium berghei and we report here the analysis of the Plasmodium sporozoite transcriptome.
Results
Annotation of 530 tag sequences homologous to Plasmodium berghei genomic sequences identified 123 genes expressed in salivary gland sporozoites and these genes were classified according to their transcript abundance. A subset of these genes was further studied by quantitative PCR to determine their expression profiles. This revealed that sporozoites modulate their RNA amounts not only between the midgut and salivary glands, but also during their storage within the latter. Among the 123 genes, the expression of 66 is described for the first time in sporozoites of rodent Plasmodium species.
Conclusion
These novel sporozoite expressed genes, especially those expressed at high levels in salivary gland sporozoites, are likely to play a role in Plasmodium infectivity in the mammalian host.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-8-466
PMCID: PMC2263065  PMID: 18093287

Results 1-4 (4)