Unanswered key questions in bark beetle-plant interactions concern host finding in species attacking angiosperms in tropical zones and whether management strategies based on chemical signaling used for their conifer-attacking temperate relatives may also be applied in the tropics. We hypothesized that there should be a common link in chemical signaling mediating host location by these Scolytids. Using laboratory behavioral assays and chemical analysis we demonstrate that the yellow-orange exocarp stage of coffee berries, which attracts the coffee berry borer, releases relatively high amounts of volatiles including conophthorin, chalcogran, frontalin and sulcatone that are typically associated with Scolytinae chemical ecology. The green stage of the berry produces a much less complex bouquet containing small amounts of conophthorin but no other compounds known as bark beetle semiochemicals. In behavioral assays, the coffee berry borer was attracted to the spiroacetals conophthorin and chalcogran, but avoided the monoterpenes verbenone and α-pinene, demonstrating that, as in their conifer-attacking relatives in temperate zones, the use of host and non-host volatiles is also critical in host finding by tropical species. We speculate that microorganisms formed a common basis for the establishment of crucial chemical signals comprising inter- and intraspecific communication systems in both temperate- and tropical-occurring bark beetles attacking gymnosperms and angiosperms.
Herbivore-induced plant responses have been widely described following attack on leaves; however, less attention has been paid to analogous local processes that occur in stems. Early studies of maize (Zea mays) responses to stem boring by European corn borer (ECB, Ostrinianubilalis) larvae revealed the presence of inducible acidic diterpenoid phytoalexins, termed kauralexins, and increases in the benzoxazinoid 2-hydroxy-4,7-dimethoxy-1,4-benzoxazin-3-one-glucose (HDMBOA-Glc) after 24 h of herbivory. Despite these rapidly activated defenses, larval growth was not altered in short-term feeding assays. Unexpectedly, ECB growth significantly improved in assays using stem tissue preconditioned by 48 h of larval tunneling. Correspondingly, measures of total soluble protein increased over 2.6-fold in these challenged tissues and were accompanied by elevated levels of sucrose and free linoleic acid. While microarray analyses revealed up-regulation of over 1100 transcripts, fewer individual protein increases were demonstrable. Consistent with induced endoreduplication, both wounding and ECB stem attack resulted in similar significant expansion of the nucleus, nucleolus and levels of extractable DNA from challenged tissues. While many of these responses are triggered by wounding alone, biochemical changes further enhanced in response to ECB may be due to larval secreted effectors. Unlike other Lepidoptera examined, ECB excrete exceedingly high levels of the auxin indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) in their frass which is likely to contact and contaminate the surrounding feeding tunnel. Stem exposure to a metabolically stable auxin, such as 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), promoted significant protein accumulation above wounding alone. As a future testable hypothesis, we propose that ECB-associated IAA may function as a candidate herbivore effector promoting the increased nutritional content of maize stems.
Antennae-specific odorant-degrading enzymes (ODEs) are postulated to inactivate odorant molecules after they convey their signal. Different classes of insect ODEs are specific to esters, alcohols, and aldehydes – the major functional groups of female-produced, hydrophobic sex pheromones from moth species. Esterases that rapidly inactive acetate and other esters have been well-studied, but less is known about aldehyde oxidases (AOXs). Here we report cloning of an aldehyde oxidase, AtraAOX2, from the antennae of the navel orangeworm (NOW), Amyelois transitella, and the first activity characterization of a recombinant insect AOX. AtraAOX2 gene spans 3,813 bp and encodes a protein with 1,270 amino acid residues. AtraAOX2 cDNA was expressed in baculovirus-infected insect Sf21 cells as a ≈280 kDa homodimer with 140 kDa subunits. Recombinant AtraAOX2 degraded Z11Z13–16Ald and plant volatile aldehydes as substrates. However, as expected for aldehyde oxidases, recombinant AtraAOX2 did not show specificity for Z11Z13–16Ald, the main constituent of the sex pheromone, but showed high activity for plant volatile aldehydes. Our data suggest AtraAOX2 might be involved in degradation of a diversity of aldehydes including sex pheromones, plant-derived semiochemicals, and chemical cues for oviposition sites. Additionally, AtraAOX2 could protect the insect's olfactory system from xenobiotics, including pesticides that might reach the sensillar lymph surrounding the olfactory receptor neurons.
Flumethrin has been widely used as an acaricide for the control of Varroa mites in commercial honeybee keeping throughout the world for many years. Here we test the mortality of the Asian honeybee Apis cerana cerana after treatment with flumethrin. We also ask (1) how bees react to the odor of flumethrin, (2) whether its odor induces an innate avoidance response, (3) whether its taste transmits an aversive reinforcing component in olfactory learning, and (4) whether its odor or taste can be associated with reward in classical conditioning. Our results show that flumethrin has a negative effect on Apis ceranàs lifespan, induces an innate avoidance response, acts as a punishing reinforcer in olfactory learning, and interferes with the association of an appetitive conditioned stimulus. Furthermore flumethrin uptake within the colony reduces olfactory learning over an extended period of time.
Odorants and pheromones are essential to insects as chemical cues for finding food or an appropriate mating partner. These volatile compounds bind to olfactory receptors (Ors) expressed by olfactory sensory neurons. Each insect Or functions as a ligand-gated ion channel and is a heteromeric complex that comprises one type of canonical Or and a highly conserved Orco subunit. Because there are many Or types, insect Ors can recognize with high specificity a myriad of chemical cues. Cyclic nucleotides can modulate the activity of insect Or-Orco complexes; however, the mechanism of action of these nucleotides is under debate. Here, we show that cyclic nucleotides, including cAMP and cGMP, interact with the silkmoth sex pheromone receptor complex, BmOr-1-BmOrco, from the outside of the cell and that these nucleotides act as antagonists at low concentrations and weak agonists at high concentrations. These cyclic nucleotides do not compete with the sex pheromone, bombykol, for binding to the BmOr-1 subunit. ATP and GTP also weakly inhibited BmOr-1-BmOrco activity, but D-ribose had no effect; these findings indicated that the purine moiety was crucial for the inhibition. Only the bombykol receptors have been so far shown to be subject to modulation by nucleotide-related compounds, indicating that this responsiveness to these compounds is not common for all insect Or-Orco complexes.
Increasingly invertebrates are being used to investigate the molecular and cellular effects of drugs of abuse to explore basic mechanisms of addiction. However, in mammals the principle factors contributing to addiction are long-term adaptive responses to repeated drug use. Here we examined whether adaptive responses to cocaine are also seen in invertebrates using the honey bee model system. Repeated topical treatment with a low dose of cocaine rendered bees resistant to the deleterious motor effects of a higher cocaine dose, indicating the development of physiological tolerance to cocaine in bees. Cocaine inhibits biogenic amine reuptake transporters, but neither acute nor repeated cocaine treatments caused measurable changes in levels of biogenic amines measured in whole bee brains. Our data show clear short and long-term behavioural responses of bees to cocaine administration, but caution that, despite the small size of the bee brain, measures of biogenic amines conducted at the whole-brain level may not reveal neurochemical effects of the drug.
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.
The tropical root weevil Diaprepes abbreviatus is a major pest of multiple crops in the Caribbean Islands and has become a serious constraint to citrus production in the United States. Recent work has identified host and conspecific volatiles that mediate host- and mate-finding by D. abbreviatus. The interaction of light, color, and odors has not been studied in this species. The responses of male and female D. abbreviatus to narrow bandwidths of visible light emitted by LEDs offered alone and in combination with olfactory stimuli were studied in a specially-designed multiple choice arena combined with a locomotion compensator. Weevils were more attracted to wavelengths close to green and yellow compared with blue or ultraviolet, but preferred red and darkness over green. Additionally, dim green light was preferred over brighter green. Adult weevils were also attracted to the odor of its citrus host + conspecifics. However, the attractiveness of citrus + conspecific odors disappeared in the presence of a green light. Photic stimulation induced males but not females to increase their speed. In the presence of light emitted by LEDs, turning speed decreased and path straightness increased, indicating that weevils tended to walk less tortuously. Diaprepes abbreviatus showed a hierarchy between chemo- and photo-taxis in the series of experiments presented herein, where the presence of the green light abolished upwind anemotaxis elicited by the pheromone + host plant odor. Insight into the strong responses to visual stimuli of chemically stimulated insects may be provided when the amount of information supplied by vision and olfaction is compared, as the information transmission capacity of compound eyes is estimated to be several orders of magnitude higher compared with the olfactory system. Subordination of olfactory responses by photic stimuli should be considered in the design of strategies aimed at management of such insects.
The behaviour of insects is dictated by a combination of factors and may vary considerably between individuals, but small insects are often considered en masse and thus these differences can be overlooked. For example, the cowpea bruchid Callosobruchus maculatus F. exists naturally in two adult forms: the active (flight) form for dispersal, and the inactive (flightless), more fecund but shorter-lived form. Given that these morphs show dissimilar biology, it is possible that they differ in odour-mediated orientation and yet studies of this species frequently neglect to distinguish morph type, or are carried out only on the inactive morph. Along with sex and age of individual, adult morph could be an important variable determining the biology of this and similar species, informing studies on evolution, ecology and pest management. We used an olfactometer with motion-tracking to investigate whether the olfactory behaviour and orientation of C. maculatus towards infested and uninfested cowpeas and a plant-derived repellent compound, methyl salicylate, differed between morphs or sexes. We found significant differences between the behaviour of male and female beetles and beetles of different ages, as well as interactive effects of sex, morph and age, in response to both host and repellent odours. This study demonstrates that behavioural experiments on insects should control for sex and age, while also considering differences between adult morphs where present in insect species. This finding has broad implications for fundamental entomological research, particularly when exploring the relationships between physiology, behaviour and evolutionary biology, and the application of crop protection strategies.
In many insect species olfaction is a key sensory modality. However, examination of the chemical ecology of insects has focussed up to now on insects living above ground. Evidence for behavioral responses to chemical cues in the soil other than CO2 is scarce and the role played by olfaction in the process of finding host roots below ground is not yet understood. The question of whether soil-dwelling beetle larvae can smell their host plant roots has been under debate, but proof is as yet lacking that olfactory perception of volatile compounds released by damaged host plants, as is known for insects living above ground, occurs. Here we show that soil-dwelling larvae of Melolontha hippocastani are well equipped for olfactory perception and respond electrophysiologically and behaviorally to volatiles released by damaged host-plant roots. An olfactory apparatus consisting of pore plates at the antennae and about 70 glomeruli as primary olfactory processing units indicates a highly developed olfactory system. Damage induced host plant volatiles released by oak roots such as eucalyptol and anisol are detected by larval antennae down to 5 ppbv in soil air and elicit directed movement of the larvae in natural soil towards the odor source. Our results demonstrate that plant-root volatiles are likely to be perceived by the larval olfactory system and to guide soil-dwelling white grubs through the dark below ground to their host plants. Thus, to find below-ground host plants cockchafer larvae employ mechanisms that are similar to those employed by the adult beetles flying above ground, despite strikingly different physicochemical conditions in the soil.
Below ground orientation in insects relies mainly on olfaction and taste. The economic impact of plant root feeding scarab beetle larvae gave rise to numerous phylogenetic and ecological studies. Detailed knowledge of the sensory capacities of these larvae is nevertheless lacking. Here, we present an atlas of the sensory organs on larval head appendages of Melolontha melolontha. Our ultrastructural and electrophysiological investigations allow annotation of functions to various sensory structures.
Three out of 17 ascertained sensillum types have olfactory, and 7 gustatory function. These sensillum types are unevenly distributed between antennae and palps. The most prominent chemosensory organs are antennal pore plates that in total are innervated by approximately one thousand olfactory sensory neurons grouped into functional units of three-to-four. In contrast, only two olfactory sensory neurons innervate one sensillum basiconicum on each of the palps. Gustatory sensilla chaetica dominate the apices of all head appendages, while only the palps bear thermo-/hygroreceptors. Electrophysiological responses to CO2, an attractant for many root feeders, are exclusively observed in the antennae. Out of 54 relevant volatile compounds, various alcohols, acids, amines, esters, aldehydes, ketones and monoterpenes elicit responses in antennae and palps. All head appendages are characterized by distinct olfactory response profiles that are even enantiomer specific for some compounds.
Chemosensory capacities in M. melolontha larvae are as highly developed as in many adult insects. We interpret the functional sensory units underneath the antennal pore plates as cryptic sensilla placodea and suggest that these perceive a broad range of secondary plant metabolites together with CO2. Responses to olfactory stimulation of the labial and maxillary palps indicate that typical contact chemo-sensilla have a dual gustatory and olfactory function.
Gustatory stimuli can support both immediate reflexive behaviour, such as choice and feeding, and can drive internal reinforcement in associative learning. For larval Drosophila, we here provide a first systematic behavioural analysis of these functions with respect to quinine as a study case of a substance which humans report as “tasting bitter”. We describe the dose-effect functions for these different kinds of behaviour and find that a half-maximal effect of quinine to suppress feeding needs substantially higher quinine concentrations (2.0 mM) than is the case for internal reinforcement (0.6 mM). Interestingly, in previous studies (Niewalda et al. 2008, Schipanski et al 2008) we had found the reverse for sodium chloride and fructose/sucrose, such that dose-effect functions for those tastants were shifted towards lower concentrations for feeding as compared to reinforcement, arguing that the differences in dose-effect function between these behaviours do not reflect artefacts of the types of assay used. The current results regarding quinine thus provide a starting point to investigate how the gustatory system is organized on the cellular and/or molecular level to result in different behavioural tuning curves towards a bitter tastant.
Decision-making is defined as selection amongst options based on their utility, in a flexible and context-dependent manner. Oviposition site selection by the female fly, Drosophila melanogaster, has been suggested to be a simple and genetically tractable model for understanding the biological mechanisms that implement decisions . Paradoxically, female Drosophila have been found to avoid oviposition on sugar which contrasts with known Drosophila feeding preferences . Here we demonstrate that female Drosophila prefer egg laying on sugar, but this preference is sensitive to the size of the egg laying substrate. With larger experimental substrates, females preferred to lay eggs directly on sugar containing media over other (plain, bitter or salty) media. This was in contrast to smaller substrates with closely spaced choices where females preferred non-sweetened media. We show that in small egg laying chambers newly hatched first instar larvae are able to migrate along a diffusion gradient to the sugar side. In contrast, in contexts where females preferred egg laying directly on sugar, larvae were unable to migrate to find the sucrose if released on the sugar free side of the chamber. Thus, where larval foraging costs are high, female Drosophila choose to lay their eggs directly upon the nutritious sugar substrate. Our results offer a powerful model for female decision-making.
Sawa-J is a polyphagous silkworm (Bombyx mori L.) strain that eats various plant leaves that normal silkworms do not. The feeding preference behavior of Sawa-J is controlled by one major recessive gene(s) on the polyphagous (pph) locus, and several minor genes; moreover, its deterrent cells possess low sensitivity to some bitter substances including salicin. To clarify whether taste sensitivity is controlled by the pph locus, we conducted a genetic analysis of the electrophysiological characteristics of the taste response using the polyphagous strain Sawa-J·lem, in which pph is linked to the visible larval marker lemon (lem) on the third chromosome, and the normal strain Daiankyo, in which the wild-type gene of pph (+pph) is marked with Zebra (Ze). Maxillary taste neurons of the two strains had similar dose–response relationships for sucrose, inositol, and strychnine nitrate, but the deterrent cell of Sawa-J·lem showed a remarkably low sensitivity to salicin. The F1 generation of the two strains had characteristics similar to the Daiankyo strain, consistent with the idea that pph is recessive. In the BF1 progeny between F1 females and Sawa-J·lem males where no crossing-over occurs, the lem and Ze phenotypes corresponded to different electrophysiological reactions to 25 mM salicin, indicating that the gene responsible for taste sensitivity to salicin is located on the same chromosome as the lem and Ze genes. The normal and weak reactions to 25 mM salicin were segregated in crossover-type larvae of the BF1 progeny produced by a reciprocal cross, and the recombination frequency agreed well with the theoretical ratio for the loci of lem, pph, and Ze on the standard linkage map. These results indicate that taste sensitivity to salicin is controlled by the gene(s) on the pph locus.
Insect oviposition on plants frequently precedes herbivory. Accumulating evidence indicates that plants recognize insect oviposition and elicit direct or indirect defenses to reduce the pressure of future herbivory. Most of the oviposition-triggered plant defenses described thus far remove eggs or keep them away from the host plant or their desirable feeding sites. Here, we report induction of antiherbivore defense by insect oviposition which targets newly hatched larvae, not the eggs, in the system of tomato Solanum lycopersicum L., and tomato fruitworm moth Helicoverpa zea Boddie. When tomato plants were oviposited by H. zea moths, pin2, a highly inducible gene encoding protease inhibitor2, which is a representative defense protein against herbivorous arthropods, was expressed at significantly higher level at the oviposition site than surrounding tissues, and expression decreased with distance away from the site of oviposition. Moreover, more eggs resulted in higher pin2 expression in leaves, and both fertilized and unfertilized eggs induced pin2 expression. Notably, when quantified daily following deposition of eggs, pin2 expression at the oviposition site was highest just before the emergence of larvae. Furthermore, H. zea oviposition primed the wound-induced increase of pin2 transcription and a burst of jasmonic acid (JA); tomato plants previously exposed to H. zea oviposition showed significantly stronger induction of pin2 and higher production of JA upon subsequent simulated herbivory than without oviposition. Our results suggest that tomato plants recognize H. zea oviposition as a signal of impending future herbivory and induce defenses to prepare for this herbivory by newly hatched neonate larvae.
In the honey bee, the age-related and socially regulated transition of workers from in-hive task performance (e.g., caring for young) to foraging (provisioning the hive) is associated with changes in many behaviors including the 24-hour pattern of rhythmic activity. We have previously shown that the hive-bee to forager transition is associated with extensive changes in brain gene expression. In this study, we test the possible function of a subset of these genes in daily rhythmic activity pattern using neural-targeted RNA interference (RNAi) of an orthologous gene set in Drosophila melanogaster.
Of 10 genes tested, knockdown of six affected some aspect of locomotor activity under a 12 h∶12 h light:dark regime (LD). Inos affected anticipatory activity preceding lights-off, suggesting a possible clock-dependent function. BM-40-SPARC, U2af50 and fax affected peak activity at dawn without affecting anticipation or overall inactivity (proportion of 15-min intervals without activity), suggesting that these effects may depend on the day-night light cycle. CAH1 affected overall inactivity. The remaining gene, abl, affected peak activity levels but was not clearly time-of-day-specific. No gene tested affected length of period or strength of rhythmicity in constant dark (DD), suggesting that these genes do not act in the core clock.
Taking advantage of Drosophila molecular genetic tools, our study provides an important step in understanding the large set of gene expression changes that occur in the honey bee transition from hive bee to forager. We show that orthologs of many of these genes influence locomotor activity in Drosophila, possibly through both clock-dependent and -independent pathways. Our results support the importance of both circadian clock and direct environmental stimuli (apart from entrainment) in shaping the bee’s 24-hour pattern of activity. Our study also outlines a new approach to dissecting complex behavior in a social animal.
The constant pressure posed by parasites has caused species throughout the animal kingdom to evolve suites of mechanisms to resist infection. Individual barriers and physiological defenses are considered the main barriers against parasites in invertebrate species. However, behavioral traits and other non-immunological defenses can also effectively reduce parasite transmission and infection intensity. In social insects, behaviors that reduce colony-level parasite loads are termed “social immunity.” One example of a behavioral defense is resin collection. Honey bees forage for plant-produced resins and incorporate them into their nest architecture. This use of resins can reduce chronic elevation of an individual bee's immune response. Since high activation of individual immunity can impose colony-level fitness costs, collection of resins may benefit both the individual and colony fitness. However the use of resins as a more direct defense against pathogens is unclear. Here we present evidence that honey bee colonies may self-medicate with plant resins in response to a fungal infection. Self-medication is generally defined as an individual responding to infection by ingesting or harvesting non-nutritive compounds or plant materials. Our results show that colonies increase resin foraging rates after a challenge with a fungal parasite (Ascophaera apis: chalkbrood or CB). Additionally, colonies experimentally enriched with resin had decreased infection intensities of this fungal parasite. If considered self-medication, this is a particularly unique example because it operates at the colony level. Most instances of self-medication involve pharmacophagy, whereby individuals change their diet in response to direct infection with a parasite. In this case with honey bees, resins are not ingested but used within the hive by adult bees exposed to fungal spores. Thus the colony, as the unit of selection, may be responding to infection through self-medication by increasing the number of individuals that forage for resin.
Honey bees are exposed to phytochemicals through the nectar, pollen and propolis consumed to sustain the colony. They may also encounter mycotoxins produced by Aspergillus fungi infesting pollen in beebread. Moreover, bees are exposed to agricultural pesticides, particularly in-hive acaricides used against the parasite Varroa destructor. They cope with these and other xenobiotics primarily through enzymatic detoxificative processes, but the regulation of detoxificative enzymes in honey bees remains largely unexplored.
We used several approaches to ascertain effects of dietary toxins on bee susceptibility to synthetic and natural xenobiotics, including the acaricide tau-fluvalinate, the agricultural pesticide imidacloprid, and the naturally occurring mycotoxin aflatoxin. We administered potential inducers of cytochrome P450 enzymes, the principal biochemical system for Phase 1 detoxification in insects, to investigate how detoxification is regulated. The drug phenobarbital induces P450s in many insects, yet feeding bees with phenobarbital had no effect on the toxicity of tau-fluvalinate, a pesticide known to be detoxified by bee P450s. Similarly, no P450 induction, as measured by tau-fluvalinate tolerance, occurred in bees fed xanthotoxin, salicylic acid, or indole-3-carbinol, all of which induce P450s in other insects. Only quercetin, a common pollen and honey constituent, reduced tau-fluvalinate toxicity. In microarray comparisons no change in detoxificative gene expression was detected in phenobarbital-treated bees. However, northern blot analyses of guts of bees fed extracts of honey, pollen and propolis showed elevated expression of three CYP6AS P450 genes. Diet did not influence tau-fluvalinate or imidacloprid toxicity in bioassays; however, aflatoxin toxicity was higher in bees consuming sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup than in bees consuming honey.
These results suggest that regulation of honey bee P450s is tuned to chemicals occurring naturally in the hive environment and that, in terms of toxicological capacity, a diet of sugar is not equivalent to a diet of honey.
Odorant-binding proteins (OBPs) are extracellular proteins found in insect chemosensilla, where they participate in the sensing of odors, tastes, and pheromones. Although a large number of OBP genes have been identified in insect genomes, their molecular functions and biological roles have been clarified in limited cases. Two OBP genes, Obp57d and Obp57e, were involved in the evolution of host-plant preference in Drosophila sechellia. Comparative analyses of the Obp57d/e genomic sequences from 27 closely related species suggested that the two genes arose by tandem gene duplication and functionally diverged from each other. In this study, the functional evolution of Obp57d and Obp57e was examined by in vitro binding assays using recombinant proteins synthesized in a bacterial system. Compared to the ancestral Dpse\OBP57de, Dmel\OBP57d was more specialized to tridecanoic acid while Dmel\OBP57e was generalized regarding their binding affinity, suggesting that the two OBP genes underwent subfunctionalization and neofunctionalization. A behavioral analysis using knockout flies supported that the biological role is different between OBP57d and OBP57e in vivo. Site-directed mutagenesis of the evolutionarily conserved amino acids revealed that these residues play an important role in protein folding. These findings provide a clue to understanding how the repertoire of OBP genes is maintained in a genome under natural selection.
In rural areas in Laos, fly larvae infestations are common in fermenting fish. Blowflies (Chrysomya megacephala, Diptera: Calliphoridae) are attracted to oviposit (and/or larviposit) onto fermenting fish which results in infestations with fly larvae. Knowledge of traditional use of plants to repel larvae during the production of fermented fish is common and widespread in Lao PDR.
How effective are the most salient species in repelling, and killing fly larvae in fermenting fish?
Material and Methods
The three plant species most frequently reported to repel fly larvae during an ethnobotanical survey throughout Lao PDR were tested for repellence and larvicidal activity of fly larvae infesting fermented fish. The lethality and repellence of Tadehagi triquetrum (L.) H. Ohashi (Fabaceae), Uraria crinita (L.) Desv. ex DC. (Fabaceae) and Bambusa multiplex (Lour.) Raeusch. ex Schult. & Schult. f. (Poaceae) were tested in an experimental design using fermenting fish in Vientiane, Lao PDR.
The repellent effect of fresh material of T. triquetrum and U. crinita, and the larvicidal effect of fresh B. multiplex, is significantly more effective than that of dried material of the same species, and the total effect (repellence and larvicidal effect combined) for each of the three species was significantly more effective for fresh than for dry material. Fresh material of T. triquetrum, U. crinita, or B. multiplex added on top of the fermenting fish repelled 50%, 54%, 37%, and killed 22%, 28%, and 40% of fly larvae. The total effect was not significantly different per species at 72%, 82%, and 77%, respectively.
Discussion and Conclusions
The three most salient species are effective in repelling and killing fly larvae in the production of fermented fish, and may be essential to augment food safety during traditional fermentation in open jars.
The gastrointestinal tract is emerging as a major site of chemosensation in mammalian studies. Enteroendocrine cells are chemosensory cells in the gut which produce regulatory peptides in response to luminal contents to regulate gut physiology, food intake, and glucose homeostasis, among other possible functions. Increasing evidence shows that mammalian taste receptors and taste signaling molecules are expressed in enteroendocrine cells in the gut. Invertebrate models such as Drosophila can provide a simple and genetically tractable system to study the chemosensory functions of enteroendocrine cells in vivo. To establish Drosophila enteroendocrine cells as a model for studying gut chemosensation, we used the GAL4/UAS system to examine the expression of all 68 Gustatory receptors (Grs) in the intestine. We find that 12 Gr-GAL4 drivers label subsets of enteroendocrine cells in the midgut, and examine colocalization of these drivers with the regulatory peptides neuropeptide F (NPF), locustatachykinin (LTK), and diuretic hormone 31 (DH31). RT-PCR analysis provides additional evidence for the presence of Gr transcripts in the gut. Our results suggest that the Drosophila Grs have chemosensory roles in the intestine to regulate physiological functions such as food uptake, nutrient absorption, or sugar homeostasis.
Odorant binding proteins (OBPs) play important roles in insect olfaction. The brown planthopper (BPH), Nilaparvata lugens Stål (Delphacidae, Auchenorrhyncha, Hemiptera) is one of the most important rice pests. Its monophagy (only feeding on rice), wing form (long and short wing) variation, and annual long distance migration (seeking for rice plants of high nutrition) imply that the olfaction would play a central role in BPH behavior. However, the olfaction related proteins have not been characterized in this insect.
Full length cDNA of three OBPs were obtained and distinct expression profiles were revealed regarding to tissue, developmental stage, wing form and gender for the first time for the species. The results provide important clues in functional differentiation of these genes. Binding assays with 41 compounds demonstrated that NlugOBP3 had markedly higher binding ability and wider binding spectrum than the other two OBPs. Terpenes and Ketones displayed higher binding while Alkanes showed no binding to the three OBPs. Focused on NlugOBP3, RNA interference experiments showed that NlugOBP3 not only involved in nymph olfaction on rice seedlings, but also had non-olfactory functions, as it was closely related to nymph survival.
NlugOBP3 plays important roles in both olfaction and survival of BPH. It may serve as a potential target for developing behavioral disruptant and/or lethal agent in N. lugens.
The Drosophila melanogaster TRPA family member painless, expressed in a subset of multidendritic neurons embeding in the larval epidermis, is necessary for larval nociception of noxious heat or mechanical stimuli. However, the function of painless in adult flies remains largely unknown. Here we report that mutation of painless leads to a defect in male–male courtship behavior and alteration in olfaction sensitivity in adult flies. Specific downregulation of the expression of the Painless protein in the olfactory projection neurons (PNs) of the antennal lobes (ALs) resulted in a phenotype resembling that found in painless mutant flies, whereas overexpression of Painless in PNs of painless mutant males suppressed male–male courtship behavior. The downregulation of Painless exclusively during adulthood also resulted in male–male courtship behavior. In addition, mutation of the painless gene in flies caused changes in olfaction, suggesting a role for this gene in olfactory processing. These results indicate that functions of painless in the adult central nervous system of Drosophila include modulation of olfactory processing and inhibition of male–male courtship behavior.
Members of the subfamily Galleriinae have adapted to different selective environmental pressures by devising a unique mating process. Galleriinae males initiate mating by attracting females with either chemical or acoustic signals (or a combination of both modalities). Six compounds considered candidates for the sex pheromone have recently been identified in the wing gland extracts of Aphomia sociella males. Prior to the present study, acoustic communication had not been investigated. Signals mediating female attraction were likewise unknown.
Observations of A. sociella mating behaviour and recordings of male acoustic signals confirmed that males initiate the mating process. During calling behaviour (stationary wing fanning and pheromone release), males disperse pheromone from their wing glands. When a female approaches, males cease calling and begin to produce ultrasonic songs as part of the courtship behaviour. Replaying of recorded courting songs to virgin females and a comparison of the mating efficiency of intact males with males lacking tegullae proved that male ultrasonic signals stimulate females to accept mating. Greenhouse experiments with isolated pheromone glands confirmed that the male sex pheromone mediates long-range female attraction.
Female attraction in A. sociella is chemically mediated, but ultrasonic communication is also employed during courtship. Male ultrasonic songs stimulate female sexual display and significantly affect mating efficiency. Considerable inter-individual differences in song structure exist. These could play a role in female mate selection provided that the female's ear is able to discern them. The A. sociella mating strategy described above is unique within the subfamily Galleriinae.
Bumblebee colonies are founded by a single-mated queen. Due to this life history trait, bumblebees are more susceptible to parasites and diseases than polyandrous and/or polygynous social insects. A greater resistance towards parasites is shown when the genetic variability within a colony is increased. The parasite resistance may be divided into different levels regarding the step of the parasite infection (e.g. parasite uptake, parasite intake, parasite's establishment in the nest, parasite transmission).We investigate the prophylactic behaviour of bumblebees. Bumblebees were observed during their foraging flights on two artificial flowers; one of these was contaminated by Crithidia bombi, a naturally occurring gut parasite of bumblebees (in a control experiment the non-specific pathogen Escherichia coli was used). For C. bombi, bumblebees were preferentially observed feeding on the non-contaminated flower. Whereas for E. coli, the number of visits between flowers was the same, bumblebees spent more time feeding on the non-contaminated flower.These results demonstrate the ability of bumblebees to recognise the contamination of food sources. In addition, bumblebees have a stronger preference for the non-contaminated flower when C. bombi is present in the other flower than with E. coli which might be explained as an adaptive behaviour of bumblebees towards this specific gut parasite. It seems that the more specific the parasite is, the more it reduces the reward of the flower.