Functional characterization of pheromone receptors in the tobacco budworm Heliothis virescens

Authors

  • G. Wang,

    1. State Key Laboratory for Biology of Plant Disease and Insect Pests, Institute of Plant Protection, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing, China
    2. Departments of Biological Sciences and Pharmacology, Center for Molecular Neuroscience, Institutes of Chemical Biology and Global Health and Program in Developmental Biology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA
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  • G. M. Vásquez,

    1. Department of Entomology and W. M. Keck Center for Behavioral Biology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA
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  • C. Schal,

    1. Department of Entomology and W. M. Keck Center for Behavioral Biology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA
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  • L. J. Zwiebel,

    1. Departments of Biological Sciences and Pharmacology, Center for Molecular Neuroscience, Institutes of Chemical Biology and Global Health and Program in Developmental Biology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA
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  • F. Gould

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Entomology and W. M. Keck Center for Behavioral Biology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA
      Fred Gould, Department of Entomology, Box 7634, NCSU, Raleigh, NC 27695-7634, USA. Tel./fax: 919-515-1647; e-mail: fred_gould@ncsu.edu
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Fred Gould, Department of Entomology, Box 7634, NCSU, Raleigh, NC 27695-7634, USA. Tel./fax: 919-515-1647; e-mail: fred_gould@ncsu.edu

Abstract

Functional analyses of candidate Heliothis virescens pheromone odorant receptors (HvORs) were conducted using heterologous expression in Xenopus oocytes. HvOR6 was found to be highly tuned to Z9-14:Ald, while HvOR13, HvOR14 and HvOR16 showed specificity for Z11-16:Ald, Z11-16:OAc and Z11-16:OH, respectively. HvOR15, which had been considered a candidate receptor for Z9-14:Ald did not respond to any of the pheromone compounds tested, nor to 50 other general odorants. Thus, while HvOR15 is specifically expressed in H. virescens male antennae, its role in pheromone reception remains unknown. Based on our results and previous research we can now assign pheromone receptors in H. virescens males to each of the critical H. virescens agonistic pheromone compounds and two antagonistic compounds produced by heterospecific females.

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