Insect Sex-Pheromone Signals Mediated by Specific Combinations of Olfactory Receptors -- Nakagawa et al. 307 (5715): 1638 -- Science:
We describe two male-specific olfactory receptors (ORs) in the silk moth, Bombyx mori, that are mutually exclusively expressed in a pair of adjacent pheromone-sensitive neurons of male antennae: One is specifically tuned to bombykol, the sex pheromone, and the other to bombykal, its oxidized form. Both pheromone ORs are coexpressed with an OR from the highly conserved insect OR subfamily. This coexpression promotes the functional expression of pheromone receptors and confers ligand-stimulated nonselective cation channel activity. The same effects were also observed for general ORs. Both odorant and pheromone signaling pathways are mediated by means of a common mechanism in insects.
The evolution of a sex-pheromone system common to many insects. Common descent and the raw material for speciation through sexual isolation.