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Molecular determinants of odorant receptor function in insects

Ray, Anandasankar, Van Der Goes Van Naters, Wynand and Carlson, John R. 2014. Molecular determinants of odorant receptor function in insects. Journal of Biosciences 39 (4) , pp. 555-563. 10.1007/s12038-014-9447-7

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Abstract

The olfactory system of Drosophila melanogaster provides a powerful model to study molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying function of a sensory system. In the 1970s Siddiqi and colleagues pioneered the application of genetics to olfactory research and isolated several mutant Drosophila with odorant-specific defects in olfactory behaviour, suggesting that odorants are detected differentially by the olfactory system. Since then basic principles of olfactory system function and development have emerged using Drosophila as a model. Nearly four decades later we can add computational methods to further our understanding of how specific odorants are detected by receptors. Using a comparative approach we identify two categories of short amino acid sequence motifs: ones that are conserved family-wide predominantly in the C-terminal half of most receptors, and ones that are present in receptors that detect a specific odorant, 4-methylphenol, found predominantly in the N-terminal half. The odorant-specific sequence motifs are predictors of phenol detection in Anopheles gambiae and other insects, suggesting they are likely to participate in odorant binding. Conversely, the family-wide motifs are expected to participate in shared functions across all receptors and a mutation in the most conserved motif leads to a reduction in odor response. These findings lay a foundation for investigating functional domains within odorant receptors that can lead to a molecular understanding of odor detection.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 0250-5991
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2019 15:47
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/62749

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