Transcriptomes of mouse olfactory epithelium reveal sexual differences in odorant detection.
ABSTRACT: To sense numerous odorants and chemicals, animals have evolved a large number of olfactory receptor genes (Olfrs) in their genome. In particular, the house mouse has ~1,100 genes in the Olfr gene family. This makes the mouse a good model organism to study Olfr genes and olfaction-related genes. To date, whether male and female mice possess the same ability in detecting environmental odorants is still unknown. Using the next generation sequencing technology (paired-end mRNA-seq), we detected 1,088 expressed Olfr genes in both male and female olfactory epithelium. We found that not only Olfr genes but also odorant-binding protein (Obp) genes have evolved rapidly in the mouse lineage. Interestingly, Olfr genes tend to express at a higher level in males than in females, whereas the Obp genes clustered on the X chromosome show the opposite trend. These observations may imply a more efficient odorant-transporting system in females, whereas a more active Olfr gene expressing system in males. In addition, we detected the expression of two genes encoding major urinary proteins, which have been proposed to bind and transport pheromones or act as pheromones in mouse urine. This observation suggests a role of main olfactory system (MOS) in pheromone detection, contrary to the view that only accessory olfactory system (AOS) is involved in pheromone detection. This study suggests the sexual differences in detecting environmental odorants in MOS and demonstrates that mRNA-seq provides a powerful tool for detecting genes with low expression levels and with high sequence similarities.
Project description:Insects use their sensitive and selective olfactory system to detect outside chemical odorants, such as female sex pheromones and host plant volatiles. Several groups of olfactory proteins participate in the odorant detection process, including odorant binding proteins (OBPs), chemosensory proteins (CSPs), odorant receptors (ORs), ionotropic receptors (IRs) and sensory neuron membrane proteins (SNMPs). The identification and functional characterization of these olfactory proteins will enhance our knowledge of the molecular basis of insect chemoreception. In this study, we report the identification and differential expression profiles of these olfactory genes in the black cutworm moth Agrotis ipsilon. In total, 33 OBPs, 12 CSPs, 42 ORs, 24 IRs, 2 SNMPs and 1 gustatory receptor (GR) were annotated from the A. ipsilon antennal transcriptomes, and further RT-PCR and RT-qPCR revealed that 22 OBPs, 3 CSPs, 35 ORs, 14 IRs and the 2 SNMPs are uniquely or primarily expressed in the male and female antennae. Furthermore, one OBP (AipsOBP6) and one CSP (AipsCSP2) were exclusively expressed in the female sex pheromone gland. These antennae-enriched OBPs, CSPs, ORs, IRs and SNMPs were suggested to be responsible for pheromone and general odorant detection and thus could be meaningful target genes for us to study their biological functions in vivo and in vitro.
Project description:Pheromone and plant odorants are important for insect mating, foraging food sources and oviposition. To understand the molecular mechanisms regulating pheromone and odorant signaling, we employed qRT-PCR to study the circadian rhythms of ABP, OBP, PBP, and OR gene expression in the beet armyworm, Spodoptera exigua and their responses after a pre-exposure to sex pheromone compounds or plant volatiles. The neuronal responses of male S. exigua to 20 chemical compounds were recorded at three specific time periods using the electroantennogram. The results showed a circadian rhythm in the expression profiles of some chemosensory genes in the antennae similar to their behavioral rhythm. The expression profiles of OR3, OR6, OR11, OR13, OR16, OR18, Orco, ABP2, OBP1, OBP7, and PBP1, and EAG responses to chemical compounds, as well as their circadian rhythm were significantly affected after exposure to synthetic sex pheromones and plant volatiles. These findings provide the first evidence that the gene expression of chemosensory genes and olfactory sensitivity to sex pheromones are affected by pre-exposing insects to pheromone compounds and plant volatiles. It helps to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying pheromone activity, and the application of sex pheromones and plant volatiles in mating disruption or mass trapping.
Project description:Olfactory proteins mediate a wide range of essential behaviors for insect survival. Odorant binding proteins (OBPs) are small soluble olfactory proteins involved in the transport of odor molecules (=odorants) through the sensillum lymph to odorant receptors, which are housed on the dendritic membrane of olfactory sensory neurons also known as olfactory receptor neurons. Thus, a better understanding of the role(s) of OBPs from Rhodnius prolixus, one of the main vectors of Chagas disease, may ultimately lead to new strategies for vector management. Here we aimed at functionally characterize OBPs from R. prolixus. Genes of interest were selected using conventional bioinformatics approaches and subsequent quantification by qPCR. We screened and estimated expression in different tissues of 17 OBPs from R. prolixus adults. These analyses showed that 11 OBPs were expressed in all tissues, whereas six OBP genes were specific to antennae. Two OBP genes, RproOBP6 and RproOBP13, were expressed in both male and female antennae thus suggesting that they might be involved in the recognition of semiochemicals mediating behaviors common to both sexes, such host finding (for a blood meal). Transcripts for RproOBP17 and RproOBP21 were enriched in female antennae and possibly involved in the detection of oviposition attractants or other semiochemicals mediating female-specific behaviors. By contrast, RproOBP26 and RproOBP27 might be involved in the reception of sex pheromones given that their transcripts were highly expressed in male antennae. To test this hypothesis, we silenced RproOBP27 using RNAi and examined the sexual behavior of the phenotype. Indeed, adult males treated with dsOBP27 spent significantly less time close to females as compared to controls. Additionally, docking analysis suggested that RproOBP27 binds to putative sex pheromones. We therefore concluded that RproOBP27 might be a pheromone-binding protein.
Project description:The oriental fruit fly, Bactrocera dorsalis, is a devastating fruit fly pest in tropical and sub-tropical countries. Like other insects, this fly uses its chemosensory system to efficiently interact with its environment. However, our understanding of the molecular components comprising B. dorsalis chemosensory system is limited. Using next generation sequencing technologies, we sequenced the transcriptome of four B. dorsalis developmental stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult chemosensory tissues. A total of 31 candidate odorant binding proteins (OBPs), 4 candidate chemosensory proteins (CSPs), 23 candidate odorant receptors (ORs), 11 candidate ionotropic receptors (IRs), 6 candidate gustatory receptors (GRs) and 3 candidate sensory neuron membrane proteins (SNMPs) were identified. The tissue distributions of the OBP and CSP transcripts were determined by RT-PCR and a subset of nine genes were further characterized. The predicted proteins from these genes shared high sequence similarity to Drosophila melanogaster pheromone binding protein related proteins (PBPRPs). Interestingly, one OBP (BdorOBP19c) was exclusively expressed in the sex pheromone glands of mature females. RT-PCR was also used to compare the expression of the candidate genes in the antennae of male and female B. dorsalis adults. These antennae-enriched OBPs, CSPs, ORs, IRs and SNMPs could play a role in the detection of pheromones and general odorants and thus could be useful target genes for the integrated pest management of B. dorsalis and other agricultural pests.
Project description:Bradysia odoriphaga is an agricultural pest insect affecting the production of Chinese chive and other liliaceous vegetables in China, and it is significantly attracted by sex pheromones and the volatiles derived from host plants. Despite verification of this chemosensory behavior, however, it is still unknown how B. odoriphaga recognizes these volatile compounds on the molecular level. Many of odorant binding proteins (OBPs) and chemosensory proteins (CSPs) play crucial roles in olfactory perception. Here, we identified 49 OBP and 5 CSP genes from the antennae and body transcriptomes of female and male adults of B. odoriphaga, respectively. Sequence alignment and phylogenetic analysis among Dipteran OBPs and CSPs were analyzed. The sex- and tissue-specific expression profiles of 54 putative chemosensory genes among different tissues were investigated by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). qRT-PCR analysis results suggested that 22 OBP and 3 CSP genes were enriched in the antennae, indicating they might be essential for detection of general odorants and pheromones. Among these antennae-enriched genes, nine OBPs (BodoOBP2/4/6/8/12/13/20/28/33) were enriched in the male antennae and may play crucial roles in the detection of sex pheromones. Moreover, some OBP and CSP genes were enriched in non-antennae tissues, such as in the legs (BodoOBP3/9/19/21/34/35/38/39/45 and BodoCSP1), wings (BodoOBP17/30/32/37/44), abdomens and thoraxes (BodoOBP29/36), and heads (BodoOBP14/23/31 and BodoCSP2), suggesting that these genes might be involved in olfactory, gustatory, or other physiological processes. Our findings provide a starting point to facilitate functional research of these chemosensory genes in B. odoriphaga at the molecular level.
Project description:Cotesia vestalis is an endoparasitic wasp that attacks larvae of the diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella), a herbivore of cruciferous plants. Females of C. vestalis use herbivore-induced plant odorants released from plants infested by P. xylostella as a host-searching cue. Transcriptome pyrosequencing was used to identify genes in the antennae of C. vestalis adult females coding for odorant receptors (ORs) and odorant binding proteins (OBPs) involved in insect olfactory perception. Quantitative gene expression analyses showed that a few OR and OBP genes were expressed exclusively in the antenna of C. vestalis adult females whereas most other classes of genes were expressed in the antennae of both males and females, indicating their diversity in importance for the olfactory sensory system. Together, transcriptome profiling of C. vestalis genes involved in the antennal odorant-sensory system helps in detecting genes involved in host- and food-search behaviors through infochemically-mediated interactions.
Project description:Odorant-Degrading Enzymes (ODEs) are supposed to be involved in the signal inactivation step within the olfactory sensilla of insects by quickly removing odorant molecules from the vicinity of the olfactory receptors. Only three ODEs have been both identified at the molecular level and functionally characterized: two were specialized in the degradation of pheromone compounds and the last one was shown to degrade a plant odorant.Previous work has shown that the antennae of the cotton leafworm Spodoptera littoralis, a worldwide pest of agricultural crops, express numerous candidate ODEs. We focused on an esterase overexpressed in males antennae, namely SlCXE7. We studied its expression patterns and tested its catalytic properties towards three odorants, i.e. the two female sex pheromone components and a green leaf volatile emitted by host plants.SlCXE7 expression was concomitant during development with male responsiveness to odorants and during adult scotophase with the period of male most active sexual behaviour. Furthermore, SlCXE7 transcription could be induced by male exposure to the main pheromone component, suggesting a role of Pheromone-Degrading Enzyme. Interestingly, recombinant SlCXE7 was able to efficiently hydrolyze the pheromone compounds but also the plant volatile, with a higher affinity for the pheromone than for the plant compound. In male antennae, SlCXE7 expression was associated with both long and short sensilla, tuned to sex pheromones or plant odours, respectively. Our results thus suggested that a same ODE could have a dual function depending of it sensillar localisation. Within the pheromone-sensitive sensilla, SlCXE7 may play a role in pheromone signal termination and in reduction of odorant background noise, whereas it could be involved in plant odorant inactivation within the short sensilla.
Project description:Odorant binding proteins (Obps) are expressed at extremely high levels in the antennae of insects, and have long been believed essential for carrying hydrophobic odorants to odor receptors. Previously we found that when one functional type of olfactory sensillum in Drosophila was depleted of its sole abundant Obp, it retained a robust olfactory response (Larter et al., 2016). Here we have deleted all the Obp genes that are abundantly expressed in the antennal basiconic sensilla. All of six tested sensillum types responded robustly to odors of widely diverse chemical or temporal structure. One mutant gave a greater physiological and behavioral response to an odorant that affects oviposition. Our results support a model in which many sensilla can respond to odorants in the absence of Obps, and many Obps are not essential for olfactory response, but that some Obps can modulate olfactory physiology and the behavior that it drives.
Project description:Chemical cues influence a range of behavioral responses in rodents. The involvement of protein odorants and odorant receptors in mediating reproductive behavior, foraging, and predator avoidance suggests that their genes may have been subject to adaptive evolution. We have estimated the consequences of selection on rodent pheromones, their receptors, and olfactory receptors. These families were chosen on the basis of multiple gene duplications since the common ancestor of rat and mouse. For each family, codons were identified that are likely to have been subject to adaptive evolution. The majority of such sites are situated on the solvent-accessible surfaces of putative pheromones and the lumenal portions of their likely receptors. We predict that these contribute to physicochemical and functional diversity within pheromone-receptor interaction sites.
Project description:Odorant binding proteins (Obps) are remarkable in their number, diversity, and abundance, yet their role in olfactory coding remains unclear. They are widely believed to be required for transporting hydrophobic odorants through an aqueous lymph to odorant receptors. We construct a map of the Drosophila antenna, in which the abundant Obps are mapped to olfactory sensilla with defined functions. The results lay a foundation for an incisive analysis of Obp function. The map identifies a sensillum type that contains a single abundant Obp, Obp28a. Surprisingly, deletion of the sole abundant Obp in these sensilla does not reduce the magnitude of their olfactory responses. The results suggest that this Obp is not required for odorant transport and that this sensillum does not require an abundant Obp. The results further suggest a novel role for this Obp in buffering changes in the odor environment, perhaps providing a molecular form of gain control.