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Chem Senses. 2009 Jul;34(6):465-8. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjp025. Epub 2009 May 20.

Nearest neural neighbors: moth sex pheromone receptors HR11 and HR13.

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Center for Chemical Ecology, Department of Entomology, 105 Chemical Ecology Laboratory, Penn State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA.


In moth sex pheromone olfaction systems, there is a stereotypical co-compartmentalization of two or sometimes three olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) within single trichoid sensilla on which pheromone-sensitive odorant receptors (ORs) are differentially expressed. In this issue of Chemical Senses, Krieger et al. show through elegant double and triple in situ hybridization studies that in the moth, Heliothis virescens, a pheromone component-related OR (HR11) is expressed on an ORN that is reliably cocompartmentalized in the same sensillum as another OR (HR13) whose ligand is known to be (Z)-11-hexadecenal, the H. virescens major pheromone component. Although the ligand for HR11 is not yet known, mapping this OR to this particular ORN represents a key advance in piecing together the puzzle of H. virescens sex pheromone olfaction.

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