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Curr Biol. 2009 Jun 9;19(11):881-90. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.04.035. Epub 2009 May 7.

Highly selective tuning of a silkworm olfactory receptor to a key mulberry leaf volatile.

Author information

1
Department of Integrated Biosciences, The University of Tokyo, Chiba 277-8562, Japan.

Erratum in

  • Curr Biol. 2011 Apr 12;21(7):623.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The olfactory system plays an important role in the recognition of leaf volatiles during the search of folivore insects for a suitable plant host. For example, volatiles emitted by mulberry leaves trigger chemotaxis behavior in the silkworms Bombyx mori, and as a consequence, they preferentially reside on and consume mulberry leaves. Here, we aimed to identify natural chemoattractants and their corresponding olfactory receptors (Ors) involved in silkworm behavior to mulberry leaves.

RESULTS:

Chemotaxis behavioral assays for headspace volatiles detected by gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy analysis revealed that among the volatiles that were emitted by mulberry leaves, cis-jasmone was the most potent attractant for silkworms, working at a threshold of 30 pg from [corrected] 20 cm distance. Among a total of 66 Ors identified in the B. mori genome, we found that 23 were expressed in the olfactory organs during larval stages. Functional analysis of all the larvae-expressed Ors in Xenopus oocytes revealed that one Or, termed BmOr-56, showed a high sensitivity to cis-jasmone. In addition, the ligand-receptor activity of BmOr-56 reflected the chemotaxis behavioral response of silkworms.

CONCLUSIONS:

We identified cis-jasmone as a potent attractant in mulberry leaves for silkworms and provide evidence that a highly tuned receptor, BmOr-56, may mediate this behavioral attraction. The current study sheds light on the mechanism of the correlation between olfactory perception in folivore insects and chemotaxis behavior to a natural volatile emitted by green leaves.

PMID:
19427209
DOI:
10.1016/j.cub.2009.04.035
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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