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Chemosensory receptor genes in the Oriental tobacco budworm Helicoverpa assulta

Xu, W., Papanicolaou, A., Liu, N.‐Y., Dong, S.‐L., Anderson, A.
Insect molecular biology 2015 v.24 no.2 pp. 253-263
Helicoverpa assulta, assays, bioinformatics, calcium, gene expression, genes, herbivores, image analysis, insect larvae, insects, olfactory receptors, phylogeny, receptors, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, sex pheromones, transcriptomics
The Oriental tobacco budworm (Helicoverpa assulta) is a specialist herbivore moth and its larvae feed on Solanaceous plants. (Z)‐9‐hexadecenal (Z9‐16: Ald) is the major sex pheromone component in H. assulta but the specific pheromone receptor (PR) against Z9‐16: Ald has not yet been identified. In the present study, we integrated transcriptomic, bioinformatic and functional characterization approaches to investigate the chemosensory receptor genes of H. assulta. We identified seven potential PRs with 44 olfactory receptors, 18 gustatory receptors and 24 ionotropic receptors, which were further studied by in silico gene expression profile, phylogenetic analysis, reverse transcription PCR and calcium imaging assays. The candidate PR, HassOR13, showed a strong response to the minor sex pheromone component, (Z)‐11‐hexadecenal, but not the major component, Z9‐16: Ald, in calcium imaging assays. This study provides the molecular basis for comparative studies of chemosensory receptors between H. assulta and other Helicoverpa species and will advance our understanding of the evolution and function of Lepidoptera insect chemosensation.