Multiple activities of insect repellents on odorant receptors in mosquitoes

J. D. Bohbot, L. Fu, T. C. Le, K. R. Chauhan, C. L. Cantrell, J. C. Dickens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Several lines of evidence suggest that insect repellent molecules reduce mosquito-host contacts by interacting with odorants and odorant receptors (ORs), thereby ultimately affecting olfactory-driven behaviours. We describe the molecular effects of 10 insect repellents and a pyrethroid insecticide with known repellent activity on two highly specific Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae) ORs, AaOR2 + AaOR7 and AaOR8 + AaOR7, exquisitely sensitive to key mosquito attractants indole and (R)-(-)-1-octen-3-ol, expressed in oocytes of Xenopus (Anura: Pipidae). Our study demonstrates that insect repellents can both inhibit odorant-evoked currents mediated by ORs and independently elicit currents in the absence of odorants. All of the repellents had effects on one or both ORs; most of these compounds were selective inhibitors and showed a high degree of specificity in their capacity to activate the two ORs. These results show that a range of insect repellents belonging to structurally diverse chemical classes modulate the function of mosquito ORs through multiple molecular mechanisms. Published 2011. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)436-444
Number of pages9
JournalMedical and Veterinary Entomology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Aedes aegypti
  • Agonist
  • Antagonist
  • Indole
  • Modulator
  • Mosquito
  • Octenol
  • Odorant receptor
  • Pyrethroid
  • Repellent


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