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Title page for ETD etd-02212013-100311

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Pask, Gregory Mark
URN etd-02212013-100311
Title Exploring the molecular mechanisms of insect odorant receptors
Degree PhD
Department Biological Sciences
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Terry Page Committee Chair
Aurelio Galli Committee Member
Dave Piston Committee Member
Douglas McMahon Committee Member
Laurence Zwiebel Committee Member
  • insect
  • chemosensation
  • olfaction
Date of Defense 2013-02-21
Availability unrestricted
Insects are able to detect a wide range of volatiles through a family of cell-surface odorant receptors (ORs), which are activated by specific odorants and relay the signal to the brain. Insect ORs function as heteromultimeric complexes consisting of an odorant-specific OR and a conserved coreceptor, Orco. Using a small molecule screen, a compound named VUAA1 was identified and characterized as an Orco agonist across several insect species. VUAA1 also served as a powerful tool in insect research to examine the structure/function relationship of several heteromeric OR complexes. In addition, a class of amiloride derivatives was identified as potent OR channel blockers and also revealed differences in function among several ORs. Finally, the molecular receptive range (MRR) of a candidate sugar-feeding receptor in Anopheles gambiae was determined and revealed aspects of the odorant-OR interaction. These studies have elucidated several aspects of insect OR function, as well as provide powerful research tools for future studies in insect olfaction.
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