Navigation Links
The first insects were not yet able to smell well
Date:3/27/2014

This news release is available in German.

An insect's sense of smell is vital to its survival. Only if it can trace even tiny amounts of odor molecules is it is able to find food sources, communicate with conspecifics, or avoid enemies. According to scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, many proteins involved in the highly sensitive odor perception of insects emerged rather late in the evolutionary process. The very complex olfactory system of modern insects is therefore not an adaptation to a terrestrial environment when ancient insects migrated from water to land, but rather an adaptation that appeared when insects developed the ability to fly. The results were published in the Open Access Journal eLife (eLife, March 26, 2014, doi: 10.7554/elife.02115)

Many insect species employ three families of receptor proteins in order to perceive thousands of different environmental odors. Among them are the olfactory receptors. They form a functional complex with another protein, the so-called olfactory receptor co-receptor, which enables insects to smell the tiniest amounts of odor molecules in their environment very rapidly.

Crustaceans and insects share a common ancestor. Since crustaceans do not have olfactory receptors, previously scientists assumed that these receptors evolved as an adaptation of prehistoric insects to a terrestrial life. This hypothesis is also based on the assumption that for the ancestors of recent insects, the ability to detect odor molecules in the air rather than dissolved in water was of vital importance.

Early research on insect olfactory receptors focused entirely on insects with wings. Ewald Groe-Wilde and Bill S. Hansson and their colleagues from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, have now taken a closer look at the olfactory system of wingless insects, which − in evolutionary terms − are older than winged insects: the jumping bristletail Lepismachilis y-signata and the firebrat Thermobia domestica, which are both wingless, as well as the leaf insect Phyllium siccifolium, which is winged and was used as a control. As all three studied insect species emerged at different times in insect evolution, the scientists wanted to track the historical development of olfactory receptors.

Christine Mibach, first author of the study, analyzed the active genes in the insect antennae where the olfactory receptors are located and describes her discovery this way: "Astonishingly, the firebrat, which is more closely related to flying insects, employs several co-receptors, while the odorant receptors themselves are absent."

However, the researchers did not find any evidence for an olfactory system which is based on odorant receptors in the most basal insect, the jumping bristletail.

"According to these findings, the receptor family which is important for olfaction in recent insects evolved long after the migration of insects from water to land," Ewald Groe-Wilde summarizes. The researchers are convinced that the main olfactory receptors evolved independently of the co-receptor long after insects had adapted to terrestrial life. They hope that further analyses will reveal why some insect species have only co-receptors, no main receptors, and also clarify the function these co-receptors have on their own. [AO]


'/>"/>
Contact: Ewald Große-Wilde
grosse-wilde@ice.mpg.de
49-364-157-1408
Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. First look at breast microbiota raises tantalizing questions
2. Worlds first light-activated antimicrobial surface that also works in the dark
3. First International Agroforestry Congress in the Philippines
4. First evidence of plants evolving weaponry to compete in the struggle for selection
5. UChicago and MBL announce first recipients of Lillie Awards for Collaborative Research
6. First animals oxygenated the ocean, study suggests
7. First look at how Staphylococcus cells adhere to nanostructures could help fight infections
8. Research reveals first glimpse of brain circuit that helps experience to shape perception
9. First-of-its-kind web portal to bolster research and treatment for rare diseases
10. First biological marker for major depression could enable better diagnosis and treatment
11. First-ever book on Mekong rattan species aims to promote sustainable practices
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
The first insects were not yet able to smell well
(Date:11/19/2016)... 18, 2016 Securus Technologies, a leading provider ... safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring, announced today that it ... to have an independent technology judge determine who has ... high tech/sophisticated telephone calling platform, and the best customer ... do most of what we do – which clearly ...
(Date:11/17/2016)... , Nov. 17, 2016  AIC announces that it has just released a new ... that require high-performance scale-out plus high speed data transfer storage solutions. Photo ... ... ... Setting up a high performance computing ...
(Date:11/15/2016)... , Nov. 15, 2016  Synthetic Biologics, Inc. ... therapeutics focused on the gut microbiome, today announced ... 25,000,000 shares of its common stock and warrants ... at a price to the public of $1.00 ... Synthetic Biologics from the offering, excluding the proceeds, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/7/2016)... MA and Azusa, CA (PRWEB) , ... December ... ... provider of distributed wastewater treatment and resource recovery solutions for industrial facilities, today ... Company , will be the first to use Cambrian’s novel water-energy purchase agreement ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... , ... December 07, 2016 ... ... opening applications to an early access program for SmartBiome -- a novel ... with the simultaneous specific enrichment and detection of hundreds of different genes. ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... 2016 /PRNewswire/ - SQI Diagnostics Inc. ("SQI" or the "Company") (TSX-V: SQD; ... quarter and fiscal year ended September 30, 2016. ... , , ... and diagnostics company that develops and commercializes proprietary technologies and products ... Achieved revenues of $1.4 million more than tripling prior years ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... 06, 2016 , ... Discovering new clues to natural treatments that could allow ... in our brains. And searching for keys to our immune systems by studying parasite-resistant ... the 2017 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards by The Academy of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: