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PhD Thesis

Function and regulation of insect olfactory receptors
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Biologisch-Pharmazeutische Fakultät
First Supervisor: Prof. Dr. B.S. Hansson
Co-Supervisor(s): PD Dr. D. Wicher, S. Heinemann (FSU)

In insects odorant detection involves ligand -binding members of Olfactory receptor (OR) gene family along with the co-receptor Or83b. Or83b is highly conserved across insect species and is a broadly expressed co-receptor essential for olfaction in Drosophila melanogaster. The literature contains divergent views of olfactory signal transduction mechanism in insects. Recent studies on heterologous system using OR-OR83b heterodimer complexes showed that the mutations in the putative pore region of Or83b region altered ion permeability. We hypothesize that mutational analysis in putative cation selectivity motif of Or83b co receptor will change the odour evoked response event in the insect. To test our hypothesis we combine our study with genetics, electrophysiology and behavioral techniques to characterize the flies carrying mutations in the putative selectivity pore motif of Or83b.We also aim to understand the stoichiometry formed by the Or83b protein and its physiological significance. Understanding the basic mechanism of odour perception will enable the finding of inhibitors of the channels to create new class of insect repellents.