Candidate chemosensory ionotropic receptors in a Lepidoptera


Dr Emmanuelle Jacquin-Joly, INRA UMR 1272 INRA-UPMC PISC Physiologie de l'Insecte: Signalisation et Communication, route de Saint-Cyr, F-78000 Versailles, France. Tel.: + 33 1 30 83 32 12; fax: + 33 1 30 83 31 19; e-mail:


A new family of candidate chemosensory ionotropic receptors (IRs) related to ionotropic glutamate receptors (iGluRs) was recently discovered in Drosophila melanogaster. Through Blast analyses of an expressed sequenced tag library prepared from male antennae of the noctuid moth Spodoptera littoralis, we identified 12 unigenes encoding proteins related to D. melanogaster and Bombyx mori IRs. Their full length sequences were obtained and the analyses of their expression patterns suggest that they were exclusively expressed or clearly enriched in chemosensory organs. The deduced protein sequences were more similar to B. mori and D. melanogaster IRs than to iGluRs and showed considerable variations in the predicted ligand-binding domains; none have the three glutamate-interacting residues found in iGluRs, suggesting different binding specificities. Our data suggest that we identified members of the insect IR chemosensory receptor family in S. littoralis and we report here the first demonstration of IR expression in Lepidoptera.