Odorant receptor modulation: Ternary paradigm for mode of action of insect repellents

Jonathan D. Bohbot, Joseph C. Dickens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The modulation of insect behavior for the purpose of controlling the spread of infectious diseases has been the task of a few insect repellents for which the mechanistic modes of action on odorant receptors (ORs) are unclear. Here, we study the effects of the repellents DEET and IR3535, and a novel OR co-receptor (Orco) agonist on odorant-evoked currents in Xenopus oocytes expressing two subtypes of Aedes aegypti ORs (AaORs). We show that DEET and IR3535 behave as insurmountable antagonists of ORs, and that modulation of OR activity is not restricted to antagonism and agonism, but also includes synergism. This knowledge of the molecular mechanisms underlying OR blockade, activation and hyperactivation will be fundamental to the development of novel strategies for the control of mosquito behavior.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2086-2095
Number of pages10
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Aedes aegypti
  • Agonist
  • Insect repellent
  • Insurmountable antagonist
  • Mosquito
  • Odorant receptor
  • Olfaction
  • OrcoRAM
  • VUAA1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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