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      https://www.ias.ac.in/article/fulltext/jbsc/039/04/0555-0563

    • Keywords

       

      Drosophila; motifs; odor receptor; olfaction

    • Abstract

       

      The olfactory system of Drosophila melanogaster provides a powerful model to study molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying function of a sensory system. In the 1970s Siddiqi and colleagues pioneered the application of genetics to olfactory research and isolated several mutant Drosophila with odorant-specific defects in olfactory behaviour, suggesting that odorants are detected differentially by the olfactory system. Since then basic principles of olfactory system function and development have emerged using Drosophila as a model. Nearly four decades later we can add computational methods to further our understanding of how specific odorants are detected by receptors. Using a comparative approach we identify two categories of short amino acid sequence motifs: ones that are conserved family-wide predominantly in the C-terminal half of most receptors, and ones that are present in receptors that detect a specific odorant, 4-methylphenol, found predominantly in the N-terminal half. The odorant-specific sequence motifs are predictors of phenol detection in Anopheles gambiae and other insects, suggesting they are likely to participate in odorant binding. Conversely, the family-wide motifs are expected to participate in shared functions across all receptors and a mutation in the most conserved motif leads to a reduction in odor response. These findings lay a foundation for investigating functional domains within odorant receptors that can lead to a molecular understanding of odor detection.

    • Author Affiliations

       

      Anandasankar Ray1 2 Wynand Van Der Goes Van Naters2 3 John R Carlson2

      1. Department of Entomology, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, USA
      2. Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA
      3. School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
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