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Science 307 (5715): 1638-1642

Copyright © 2005 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Insect Sex-Pheromone Signals Mediated by Specific Combinations of Olfactory Receptors

Takao Nakagawa,1 Takeshi Sakurai,2,4 Takaaki Nishioka,3,4* Kazushige Touhara1*

Abstract: We describe two male-specific olfactory receptors (ORs) in the silk moth, Bombyx mori, that are mutually exclusively expressed in a pair of adjacent pheromone-sensitive neurons of male antennae: One is specifically tuned to bombykol, the sex pheromone, and the other to bombykal, its oxidized form. Both pheromone ORs are coexpressed with an OR from the highly conserved insect OR subfamily. This coexpression promotes the functional expression of pheromone receptors and confers ligand-stimulated nonselective cation channel activity. The same effects were also observed for general ORs. Both odorant and pheromone signaling pathways are mediated by means of a common mechanism in insects.

1 Department of Integrated Biosciences, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Chiba 277-8562, Japan.
2 Division of Applied Biosciences Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan.
3 Division of Applied Life Sciences, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan.
4 Core Research for Evolution Science and Technology of Japan Science and Technology Agency, Kawaguchi, 332–0012 Japan.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: touhara{at}k.u-tokyo.ac.jp (K.T.); nishioka{at}scl.kyoto-u.ac.jp (T.N.)


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