Review

An overview of odorant-binding protein functions in insect peripheral olfactory reception

Published: December 08, 2011
Genet.Mol.Res. 10 (4) : 3056-3069 DOI: 10.4238/2011.December.8.2

Abstract

Insect olfactory perception involves many aspects of insect life, and can directly or indirectly evoke either individual or group behaviors. Insect olfactory receptors and odorant-binding proteins (OBPs) are considered to be crucial to insect-specific and -sensitive olfaction. Although the mechanisms of interaction between OBPs or OBP/ligand complex with olfactory receptors are still not well understood, it has been shown that many OBPs contribute to insect olfactory perception at various levels. Some of these are numerous and divergent members in OBP family; expression in the olfactory organ at high concentration; a variety of combinational patterns between different OBPs and ligands, but exclusive affinity for one OBP to specific binding ligands; complicated interactions between OBP/ligand complex and transmembrane proteins (olfactory receptors or sensory neuron membrane proteins). First, we review OBPs’ ligand-binding property based on OBP structural research and ligand-binding test; then, we review current progress around the points cited above to show the role of such proteins in insect olfactory signal transmission; finally, we discuss applications based on insect OBP research.

Insect olfactory perception involves many aspects of insect life, and can directly or indirectly evoke either individual or group behaviors. Insect olfactory receptors and odorant-binding proteins (OBPs) are considered to be crucial to insect-specific and -sensitive olfaction. Although the mechanisms of interaction between OBPs or OBP/ligand complex with olfactory receptors are still not well understood, it has been shown that many OBPs contribute to insect olfactory perception at various levels. Some of these are numerous and divergent members in OBP family; expression in the olfactory organ at high concentration; a variety of combinational patterns between different OBPs and ligands, but exclusive affinity for one OBP to specific binding ligands; complicated interactions between OBP/ligand complex and transmembrane proteins (olfactory receptors or sensory neuron membrane proteins). First, we review OBPs’ ligand-binding property based on OBP structural research and ligand-binding test; then, we review current progress around the points cited above to show the role of such proteins in insect olfactory signal transmission; finally, we discuss applications based on insect OBP research.