An odorant receptor from the Southern house mosquito Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus sensitive to oviposition attractants

Julien Pelletier, David T. Hughes, Charles W. Luetje, Walter S. Leal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Background: Insect odorant receptors (ORs) are heteromers comprised of highly variable odorant-binding subunits associated with one conserved co-receptor. They are potential molecular targets for the development of novel mosquito attractants and repellents. ORs have been identified in the malaria mosquito, Anopheles gambiae, and in the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti. However, they are still unknown in the Southern house mosquito, Culex quinquefasciatus, which transmits pathogens that cause human diseases throughout the world, including West Nile Virus in the United States. Methodology: We have employed a combination of bioinformatics, molecular cloning and electrophysiology approaches to identify and characterize the response profile of an OR in Cx. quinquefasciatus. First, we have unveiled a large multigenic family of one-hundred-fifty-eight putative ORs in this species, including a subgroup of conserved ORs in three mosquito species. Using the Xenopus oocytes expression system, we have determined the response profile of CquiOR2, an antennaespecific OR, which shares high identity with putative orthologs in Anopheles gambiae (AgamOR2) and Aedes aegypti (AaegOR2). Conclusion: We show that CquiOR2 is highly sensitive to indole, an oviposition attractant for Cx. quinquefasciatus. The response profile of CquiOR2 expressed in Xenopus oocytes resembles that of an olfactory receptor neuron housed in the antennal short blunt-tipped sensilla (A2) of Cx. quinquefasciatus, which are natural detectors for oviposition attractants. This first Culex OR de-orphanized is, therefore, a potential molecular target for screening oviposition attractants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere10090
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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