• Adelphocoris lineolatus;
  • odorant binding protein;
  • fluorescence competitive binding assays;
  • pH-dependent ligand binding;
  • immunocytochemistry;
  • host plant volatile perception;
  • electroantennogram recording


Odorant-binding proteins (OBPs) are crucial in the olfactory pathway of insects. In the present study, the antenna-enriched OBP AlinOBP13 was investigated because of its potential contribution to the peripheral olfactory perception in the alfalfa plant bug Adelphocoris lineolatus. The results of quantitative reverse transcriptase-PCR showed that the transcript level of AlinOBP13 was higher in the adult stage than in the nymph stages. The transcript levels of AlinOBP13 in the male and female antennae significantly increased after 4 and 8 h of starvation, respectively. Fine ultrastructures of different types of chemosensilla in both female and male antennae were investigated using transmission electron microscopy and immunocytochemical labelling. The results revealed that the anti-AlinOBP13 antiserum strongly and specifically labelled short basiconic sensilla; this antiserum was restricted to the inner lumen and the cavities below the sensillum base of the sensilla. By contrast, multiporous sensilla trichodea, medium long sensilla basiconica, and aporous sensilla chaetica were not labelled. The present study is the first to report an OBP showing specific expression in the short basiconic sensilla of a member of the Hemipteran species. The results of a fluorescence displacement binding assay indicated that recombinant AlinOBP13 showed a more specific binding preference to terpenoids than to sex pheromones and other classes of chemicals. This binding ability was dramatically affected by pH; higher binding affinities were displayed at pH 10.0 than at pH 7.4 and 5.0. In addition, the results of dose-dependent electroantennogram recordings from the antennae showed that both female and male adult bugs responded to the terpenoids tested, suggesting an apparent physiological relevance of AlinOBP13 in A. lineolatus chemoreception. The results of this study suggest that AlinOBP13 functions as a specific carrier of terpenoids and provide insights into the mechanism of A. lineolatus in response to green volatiles.