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Chem Senses. 2002 Jun;27(5):435-43.

Activation and inhibition of the transduction process in silkmoth olfactory receptor neurons.

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  • 1Max-Planck-Institut für Verhaltensphysiologie, Seewiesen, D-82305 Starnberg, Germany.


Electrophysiological responses of olfactory receptor neurons in both male and female silkmoths (Bombyx mori) were investigated. In both sexes, the G-protein activator sodium fluoride and 1,2-dioctanoyl-sn-glycerol, a membrane-permeable analog of the protein kinase C activator diacylglycerol, elicited nerve impulse responses similar to those elicited by weak continuous stimulation with odorants. Therefore, G(q)-proteins and diacylglycerol-activated ion channels seem to be involved in the transduction process in both pheromone-sensitive neurons in males and general odorant-sensitive neurons in females. Decyl-thio-trifluoro-propanone is known to inhibit electrophysiological responses of male moths to pheromones, but has no effect in females. Application of this inhibitor reduced the frequency, but not the amplitude of elementary receptor potentials. It had no inhibitory effect on nerve impulse responses elicited by sodium fluoride or 1,2-dioctanoyl-sn-glycerol. This supports the idea that decyl-thio-trifluoro-propanone acts on a prior step of the transduction cascade, e.g. on the pheromone receptor molecules. General odorants, such as (+/-)-linalool and 1-heptanol, excite olfactory receptor neurons in females, but inhibit the pheromone-sensitive neurons in males. Both (+/-)-linalool and 1-heptanol inhibited the responses of male neurons elicited by sodium fluoride or 1,2-dioctanoyl-sn-glycerol. (+/-)-Linalool reduced the amplitude of elementary receptor potentials. In contrast to decyl-thio-trifluoro-propanone, (+/-)-linalool and 1-heptanol seem to interfere with later processes of the transduction cascade, possibly the opening of ion channels.

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