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Characterizing human odorant signals: insights from insect semiochemistry and in silico modelling

Radadiya, Ashish and Pickett, John A. 2020. Characterizing human odorant signals: insights from insect semiochemistry and in silico modelling. Philosophical Transactions B: Biological Sciences 375 (1800) , 20190263. 10.1098/rstb.2019.0263

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Abstract

Interactions relating to human chemical signalling, although widely acknowledged, are relatively poorly characterized chemically, except for human axillary odour. However, the extensive chemical ecology of insects, involving countless pheromone and other semiochemical identifications, may offer insights into overcoming problems of characterizing human-derived semiochemicals more widely. Current techniques for acquiring insect semiochemicals are discussed, particularly in relation to the need for samples to relate, as closely as possible, to the ecological situation in which they are naturally deployed. Analysis is facilitated by chromatography coupled to electrophysiological preparations from the olfactory organs of insects in vivo. This is not feasible with human olfaction, but there are now potential approaches using molecular genetically reconstructed olfactory preparations already in use with insect systems. There are specific insights of value for characterizing human semiochemicals from advanced studies on semiochemicals of haematophagous insects, which include those involving human hosts, in addition to wider studies on farm and companion animals. The characterization of the precise molecular properties recognized in olfaction could lead to new advances in analogue design and a range of novel semiochemicals for human benefit. There are insights from successful synthetic biology studies on insect semiochemicals using novel biosynthetic precursors. Already, wider opportunities in olfaction emerging from in silico studies, involving a range of theoretical and computational approaches to molecular design and understanding olfactory systems at the molecular level, are showing promise for studying human semiochemistry.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Chemistry
Publisher: Royal Society, The
ISSN: 0962-8436
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 April 2020
Date of Acceptance: 12 February 2020
Last Modified: 01 May 2020 09:14
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/131101

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