Time-Dependent Odorant Sensitivity Modulation in Insects

Hao Guo, Dean P. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Insects use olfaction to detect ecologically relevant chemicals in their environment. To maintain useful responses over a variety of stimuli, olfactory receptor neurons are desensitized to prolonged or high concentrations of stimuli. Depending on the timescale, the desensitization is classified as short-term, which typically spans a few seconds; or long-term, which spans from minutes to hours. Compared with the well-studied mechanisms of desensitization in vertebrate olfactory neurons, the mechanisms underlying invertebrate olfactory sensitivity regulation remain poorly understood. Recently, using a large-scale functional screen, a conserved critical receptor phosphorylation site has been identified in the model insect Drosophila melanogaster, providing new insight into the molecular basis of desensitization in insects. Here, we summarize the progress in this area and provide perspectives on future directions to determine the molecular mechanisms that orchestrate the desensitization in insect olfaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number354
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • desensitization
  • odorant receptors
  • olfactory receptor neurons
  • sensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science


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