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Chem Senses. 2001 Sep;26(7):833-44.

Functional and expression pattern analysis of chemosensory proteins expressed in antennae and pheromonal gland of Mamestra brassicae.

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  • 1INRA, Unité de Phytopharmacie et des Médiateurs Chimiques, Bât. A, route de Saint-Cyr, F-78026 Versailles Cedex, France.


Sequences coding for chemosensory proteins (CSP) CSPMbraA and CSPMbraB, soluble proteins of low mol. wt, have been amplified using polymerase chain reaction on antennal and pheromonal gland complementary DNAs. On the basis of their sequences, these proteins could be classed in the 'OS-D like' protein family whose first member was described in Drosophila, and that includes proteins characterized in chemosensory organs of many insect phylla, including our recent identification in Mamestra brassicae proboscis. Binding assays have shown that these proteins bind the pheromonal component (Z)-11-hexadecenyl-1-acetate (Z11-16:Ac) as well as (Z)-11-octadecenyl-1-acetate (Z11-18:Ac), an other putative component of the M. brassicae pheromonal blend. Furthermore, binding with fatty acids, but not with progesterone that is a structurally unrelated compound, leads to the hypothesis that the odorant-binding capability of the MbraCSPs may be restricted to fatty acids and/or to 16-18 carbon backbone skeletons. Thus, these proteins do not show the same highly binding specificity as the pheromone-binding proteins do. The CSP-related proteins appear homologous based on sequence identity, conserved cysteine residues and general patterns of expression. However, phylogenetic analyses suggest the presence of multiple classes of CSP within a given species and possible diversification of CSPs within different orders. This diversity perhaps contributes to the many CSP functions proposed in the literature. In M. brassicae, we localized the CSPMbraA expression to the sensilla trichodea, devoted to pheromone reception, suggesting a role in the chemosensory pathway. However, we also localized such proteins in the pheromonal gland, devoid of any chemosensory structure. This suggests that the M. brassicae CSP could be involved in transport of hydrophobic molecules through different aqueous media, such as the sensillar lymph, as well as the pheromonal gland cytosol.

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