The sulcatone receptor of the strict nectar-feeding mosquito Toxorhynchites amboinensis

Amir Dekel, Esther Yakir, Jonathan D. Bohbot*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Controlling Ae. aegypti populations and the prevention of mosquito bites includes the development of monitoring, repelling and attract-and-kill strategies that are based on understanding the chemical ecology of these pests. Olfactory-mediated attraction to mammals has recently been linked to the mosquito Aedes aegypti odorant receptor Or4, which is activated by animal-released 6-Methyl-5-hepten-2-one (sulcatone). This odorant is also a major component of flower scents and may play a role outside animal-host seeking. To explore the role of this chemical cue, we looked at the interaction between sulcatone and an Or4 homolog expressed in the antennae of the strict nectar-feeding mosquito Toxorhynchites amboinensis. Using the two-electrode voltage clamp of Xenopus oocytes as a heterologous expression system, we show that this receptor is a high intensity sulcatone receptor comparable to its Aedes counterparts. We also show that OR4 is activated by other aliphatic ketones and is inhibited by DEET. This pharmacological characterization suggests that sulcatone may be operating in more than one context in the Culicidae family.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number103174
JournalInsect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
StatePublished - Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the Israel Science Foundation (grant number 1990/16).The authors are particularly grateful to Dr. Carolyn S. McBride for providing the Aedes aegypti Or4 genes and for the productive discussions. They wish to thank Dr. Ronald Jason Pitts for his critical review Dr. Osnat Malka for her valuable insights. They are grateful to Prof. Eitan Reuveny and Dr. Izhar Karbat from the Weizmann Institute of Science for their help with the frog oocytes. This work was supported by the Israel Science Foundation [grant number 1990/16].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd


  • Aedes aegypti
  • Insect repellent
  • Odorant receptor
  • Olfaction
  • Toxorhynchites amboinensis


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