Odor and pheromone detection in Drosophila melanogaster

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Drosophila melanogaster has proven to be a useful model system to probe the mechanisms underlying the detection, discrimination, and perception of volatile odorants. The relatively small receptor repertoire of 62 odorant receptors makes the goal of understanding odor responses from the total receptor repertoire approachable in this system, and recent work has been directed toward this goal. In addition, new work not only sheds light but also raises more questions about the initial steps in odor perception in this system. Odorant receptor genes in Drosophila are predicted to encode seven transmembrane receptors, but surprising data suggest that these receptors may be inverted in the plasma membrane compared to classical G-protein coupled receptors. Finally, although some Drosophila odorant receptors are activated directly by odorant molecules, detection of a volatile pheromone, 11-cis vaccenyl acetate requires an extracellular adapter protein called LUSH for activation of pheromone sensitive neurons. Because pheromones are used by insects to trigger mating and other behaviors, these insights may herald new approaches to control behavior in pathogenic and agricultural pest insects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)749-758
Number of pages10
JournalPflugers Archiv European Journal of Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 2007


  • Olfaction
  • Olfactory
  • Receptors
  • Signaling
  • Volatile pheromones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Odor and pheromone detection in Drosophila melanogaster'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this