Functional agonism of insect odorant receptor ion channels.

Jones PL, Pask GM, Rinker DC, Zwiebel LJ
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 108 (21): 8821-5

PMID: 21555561 · PMCID: PMC3102409 · DOI:10.1073/pnas.1102425108

In insects, odor cues are discriminated through a divergent family of odorant receptors (ORs). A functional OR complex consists of both a conventional odorant-binding OR and a nonconventional coreceptor (Orco) that is highly conserved across insect taxa. Recent reports have characterized insect ORs as ion channels, but the precise mechanism of signaling remains unclear. We report the identification and characterization of an Orco family agonist, VUAA1, using the Anopheles gambiae coreceptor (AgOrco) and other orthologues. These studies reveal that the Orco family can form functional ion channels in the absence of an odor-binding OR, and in addition, demonstrate a first-in-class agonist to further research in insect OR signaling. In light of the extraordinary conservation and widespread expression of the Orco family, VUAA1 represents a powerful new family of compounds that can be used to disrupt the destructive behaviors of nuisance insects, agricultural pests, and disease vectors alike.

MeSH Terms (8)

Animals Anopheles Insecta Ion Channels Receptors, Odorant Signal Transduction Thioglycolates Triazoles

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