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Specificity of the Receptor for the Major Sex Pheromone Component in Heliothis virescens

Vásquez, Gissella M., Syed, Zainulabeuddin, Estes, Patricia A., Leal, Walter S., Gould, Fred
Journal of insect science 2013 v.13 no.160 pp. 1-12
Drosophila melanogaster, Heliothis virescens, antennae, courtship, electrophysiology, heterologous gene expression, mutation, neurons, odors, sensilla, sex pheromones, transgenic insects
In a previous study, the Drosophila melanogaster OR67dᴳᴬᴸ⁴;UAS system was used to functionally characterize the receptor for the major component of the sex pheromone in the tobacco budworm, Heliothis virescens Fabricius (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), HvOR13. Electrophysiological and behavioral assays showed that transgenic flies expressing HvOR13 responded to (Z)-11-hexadecenal (Z11-16:Ald). However, tests were not performed to determine whether these flies would also respond to secondary components of the H. virescens sex pheromone. Thus, in this study the response spectrum of HvOR13 expressed in this system was examined by performing single cell recordings from odor receptor neuron in trichoid T1 sensilla on antennae of two Or67dᴳᴬᴸ⁴ [¹]; UAS-HvOR13 lines stimulated with Z11-16:Ald and six H. virescens secondary pheromone components. Fly courtship assays were also performed to examine the behavioral response of the Or67dᴳᴬᴸ⁴[¹]; UAS-HvOR13 flies to Z11-16:Ald and the secondary component Z9-14:Ald. Our combined electrophysiological and behavioral studies indicated high specificity and sensitivity of HvOR13 to Z11-16:Ald. Interestingly, a mutation leading to truncation in the HvOR13 C-terminal region affected but did not abolish pheromone receptor response to Z11-16:Ald. The findings are assessed in relationship to other HvOR13 heterologous expression studies, and the role of the C-terminal domain in receptor function is discussed. A third line expressing HvOR15 was also tested but did not respond to any of the seven pheromone components.