June30,2017 | Vol. 2
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Beyond Chemoreception: Functional Diversity of Soluble Olfactory Proteins in Insects

Odorant-binding proteins (OBPs) and chemosensory proteins (CSPs) are regarded as carriers of pheromones and odorants in insect chemoreception. Most studies on both classes of proteins have focused on their activities within the insect chemosensory system, trying to understand their roles in detecting and recognizing environmental chemical stimuli. However, there are much more than these highly efficient proteins that have been reported in recent years to be endowed with different functions in non-sensory organs of the insect body, such as pheromone delivery, solubilization of nutrients, development and insecticide resistance. Recently, researchers from State Key Laboratory of Plant Diseases and Insect Pests, Institute of Plant Protection at Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences have published a paper on Biological Reviews about the functional diversity of soluble OBPs and CSPs in insects.

This study summarized aspects of structures, physiological functions and evolutions in both reported OBPs and CSPs, and discussed their proposed modes of action in different organs of the insect. In some cases, the same proteins are expressed in antennae and pheromone glands, thus performing dual roles in receiving and broadcasting the same chemical message. Several reports have described OBPs and CSPs in reproductive organs. Some of these proteins are male specific and are transferred to females during mating. OBPs and CSPs are also important for nutrition as solubilizers of lipids, resistance to insecticides and eggshell formation. Finally, prospective uses of these proteins are considered in odor-detection devices, as suggested by their versatility and exceptional structural stability. This study fully illustrated biological functions and many research progresses on both OBPs and CSPs, it also largely enriched the development of biological disciplines of chemosensory gene families. More details are available on the link below:

Functions other than chemoreception reported for insect OBPs and CSPs