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      Pheromone Transduction in Moths

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          Abstract

          Calling female moths attract their mates late at night with intermittent release of a species-specific sex-pheromone blend. Mean frequency of pheromone filaments encodes distance to the calling female. In their zig-zagging upwind search male moths encounter turbulent pheromone blend filaments at highly variable concentrations and frequencies. The male moth antennae are delicately designed to detect and distinguish even traces of these sex pheromones amongst the abundance of other odors. Its olfactory receptor neurons sense even single pheromone molecules and track intermittent pheromone filaments of highly variable frequencies up to about 30 Hz over a wide concentration range. In the hawkmoth Manduca sexta brief, weak pheromone stimuli as encountered during flight are detected via a metabotropic PLCβ-dependent signal transduction cascade which leads to transient changes in intracellular Ca 2+ concentrations. Strong or long pheromone stimuli, which are possibly perceived in direct contact with the female, activate receptor-guanylyl cyclases causing long-term adaptation. In addition, depending on endogenous rhythms of the moth's physiological state, hormones such as the stress hormone octopamine modulate second messenger levels in sensory neurons. High octopamine levels during the activity phase maximize temporal resolution cAMP-dependently as a prerequisite to mate location. Thus, I suggest that sliding adjustment of odor response threshold and kinetics is based upon relative concentration ratios of intracellular Ca 2+ and cyclic nucleotide levels which gate different ion channels synergistically. In addition, I propose a new hypothesis for the cyclic nucleotide-dependent ion channel formed by insect olfactory receptor/coreceptor complexes. Instead of being employed for an ionotropic mechanism of odor detection it is proposed to control subthreshold membrane potential oscillation of sensory neurons, as a basis for temporal encoding of odors.

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          Most cited references 115

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          Insect olfactory receptors are heteromeric ligand-gated ion channels.

          In insects, each olfactory sensory neuron expresses between one and three ligand-binding members of the olfactory receptor (OR) gene family, along with the highly conserved and broadly expressed Or83b co-receptor. The functional insect OR consists of a heteromeric complex of unknown stoichiometry but comprising at least one variable odorant-binding subunit and one constant Or83b family subunit. Insect ORs lack homology to G-protein-coupled chemosensory receptors in vertebrates and possess a distinct seven-transmembrane topology with the amino terminus located intracellularly. Here we provide evidence that heteromeric insect ORs comprise a new class of ligand-activated non-selective cation channels. Heterologous cells expressing silkmoth, fruitfly or mosquito heteromeric OR complexes showed extracellular Ca2+ influx and cation-non-selective ion conductance on stimulation with odorant. Odour-evoked OR currents are independent of known G-protein-coupled second messenger pathways. The fast response kinetics and OR-subunit-dependent K+ ion selectivity of the insect OR complex support the hypothesis that the complex between OR and Or83b itself confers channel activity. Direct evidence for odorant-gated channels was obtained by outside-out patch-clamp recording of Xenopus oocyte and HEK293T cell membranes expressing insect OR complexes. The ligand-gated ion channel formed by an insect OR complex seems to be the basis for a unique strategy that insects have acquired to respond to the olfactory environment.
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            Drosophila odorant receptors are both ligand-gated and cyclic-nucleotide-activated cation channels.

            From worm to man, many odorant signals are perceived by the binding of volatile ligands to odorant receptors that belong to the G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) family. They couple to heterotrimeric G-proteins, most of which induce cAMP production. This second messenger then activates cyclic-nucleotide-gated ion channels to depolarize the olfactory receptor neuron, thus providing a signal for further neuronal processing. Recent findings, however, have challenged this concept of odorant signal transduction in insects, because their odorant receptors, which lack any sequence similarity to other GPCRs, are composed of conventional odorant receptors (for example, Or22a), dimerized with a ubiquitously expressed chaperone protein, such as Or83b in Drosophila. Or83b has a structure akin to GPCRs, but has an inverted orientation in the plasma membrane. However, G proteins are expressed in insect olfactory receptor neurons, and olfactory perception is modified by mutations affecting the cAMP transduction pathway. Here we show that application of odorants to mammalian cells co-expressing Or22a and Or83b results in non-selective cation currents activated by means of an ionotropic and a metabotropic pathway, and a subsequent increase in the intracellular Ca(2+) concentration. Expression of Or83b alone leads to functional ion channels not directly responding to odorants, but being directly activated by intracellular cAMP or cGMP. Insect odorant receptors thus form ligand-gated channels as well as complexes of odorant-sensing units and cyclic-nucleotide-activated non-selective cation channels. Thereby, they provide rapid and transient as well as sensitive and prolonged odorant signalling.
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              Odor coding in the Drosophila antenna.

              Odor coding in the Drosophila antenna is examined by a functional analysis of individual olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) in vivo. Sixteen distinct classes of ORNs, each with a unique response spectrum to a panel of 47 diverse odors, are identified by extracellular recordings. ORNs exhibit multiple modes of response dynamics: an individual neuron can show either excitatory or inhibitory responses, and can exhibit different modes of termination kinetics, when stimulated with different odors. The 16 ORN classes are combined in stereotyped configurations within seven functional types of basiconic sensilla. One sensillum type contains four ORNs and the others contain two neurons, combined according to a strict pairing rule. We provide a functional map of ORNs, showing that each ORN class is restricted to a particular spatial domain on the antennal surface.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Front Cell Neurosci
                Front. Cell. Neurosci.
                Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
                Frontiers Research Foundation
                1662-5102
                07 September 2010
                31 December 2010
                2010
                : 4
                Affiliations
                1FB 10, Biology, Animal Physiology, University of Kassel Kassel, Germany
                Author notes

                Edited by: Dieter Wicher, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Germany

                Reviewed by: Bernd Grunewald, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Germany; Dean P. Smith, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, USA

                *Correspondence: Monika Stengl, FB 10, Biology, Animal Physiology, University of Kassel, Heinrich-Plett-Str. 40, 34132 Kassel, Germany.; e-mail: stengl@ 123456uni-kassel.de
                Article
                10.3389/fncel.2010.00133
                3018772
                21228914
                Copyright © 2010 Stengl.

                This is an open-access article subject to an exclusive license agreement between the authors and the Frontiers Research Foundation, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original authors and source are credited.

                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 164, Pages: 15, Words: 14632
                Categories
                Neuroscience
                Review Article

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