Silent, generic and plant kairomone sensitive odorant receptors from the Southern house mosquito

Pingxi Xu, Young Moo Choo, Julien Pelletier, Fernando R. Sujimoto, David T. Hughes, Fen Zhu, Elizabeth Atungulu, Anthony J. Cornel, Charles W. Luetje, Walter S. Leal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The Southern house mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus has the largest repertoire of odorant receptors (ORs) of all mosquitoes and dipteran species whose genomes have been sequenced to date. Previously, we have identified and de-orphanized two ORs expressed in female antennae, CquiOR2 and CquiOR10, which are sensitive to oviposition attractants. In view of a new nomenclature for the Culex genome (VectorBase) we renamed these ORs as CquiOR21 (formerly CquiOR10) and CquiOR121 (CquiOR2). In addition, we selected ORs from six different phylogenetic groups for deorphanization. We cloned four of them by using cDNA from female antennae as a template. Attempts to clone CquiOR87 and CquiOR110 were unsuccessful either because they are pseudogenes or are not expressed in adult female antennae, the main olfactory tissue. By contrast, CquiOR1, CquiOR44, CquiOR73, and CquiOR161 were highly expressed in female antennae. To de-orphanize these ORs, we employed the Xenopus oocyte recording system. CquiORx-CquiOrco-expressed oocytes were challenged with a panel of 90 compounds, including known oviposition attractants, human and vertebrate host odorants, plant kairomones, and naturally occurring repellents. While CquiOR161 did not respond to any test compound in two different laboratories, CquiOR1 showed the features of a generic OR, with strong responses to 1-octen-3-ol and other ligands. CquiOR44 and CquiOR73 showed preference to plant-derived terpenoids and phenolic compounds, respectively. While fenchone was the best ligand for the former, 3,5-dimethylphenol elicited the strongest responses in the latter. The newly de-orphanized ORs may be involved in reception of plant kairomones and/or natural repellents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)961-966
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Insect Physiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • CquiOR1
  • CquiOR121
  • CquiOR161
  • CquiOR21
  • CquiOR44
  • CquiOR73
  • Culex quinquefasciatus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science
  • Physiology


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