Mutant cycle analysis identifies a ligand interaction site in an odorant receptor of the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae

Suhaila Rahman, Charles W. Luetje

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Lack of information about the structure of insect odorant receptors (ORs) hinders the development of more effective repellants to control disease-transmitting insects. Mutagenesis and functional analyses using agonists tomapthe odorant-binding sites of these receptors have been limited because mutations distant from an agonist-binding site can alter agonist sensitivity. Here we use mutant cycle analysis, an approach for exploring the energetics of protein-protein or protein-ligand interactions, with inhibitors, to identify a component of the odorantbinding site of an OR from the malaria vector, Anopheles gambiae. The closely related odorant-specificity subunits Agam/Or15 and Agam/Or13 were each co-expressed with Agam/Orco (odorant receptor co-receptor subunit) in Xenopus oocytes and assayed by two-electrode voltage clamp electrophysiology. We identified (-)-fenchone as a competitive inhibitor with different potencies at the two receptors and used this difference to screen a panel of 37 Agam/Or15 mutants, surveying all positions that differ between Agam/Or15 and Agam/ Or13 in the transmembrane and extracellular regions, identifying position 195 as a determinant of (-)-fenchone sensitivity. Inhibition by (-)-fenchone and six structurally related inhibitors of Agam/Or15 receptors containing each of four different hydrophobic residues at position 195 served as input data for mutant cycle analysis. Several mutant cycles, calculated from the inhibition of two receptors by each of two ligands, yielded coupling energies of ≥1 kcal/mol, indicating a close, physical interaction between the ligand and residue 195 of Agam/Or15. This approach should be useful in further expanding our knowledge of odorant-binding site structures in ORs of disease vector insects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18916-18923
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number46
StatePublished - Nov 17 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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