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Author Topic: Phantastic breakthrough: Odour receptors and new insect repellants  (Read 1877 times)


  • Boltbender
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Nature | Article

Odour receptors and neurons for DEET and new insect repellents

Pinky Kain, Sean Michael Boyle, Sana Khalid Tharadra, Tom Guda, Christine Pham, Anupama Dahanukar & Anandasankar Ray

Nature (2013) doi:10.1038/nature12594
Received  16 January 2013 Accepted  15 August 2013 Published online  02 October 2013


There are major impediments to finding improved DEET alternatives because the receptors causing olfactory repellency are unknown, and new chemicals require exorbitant costs to determine safety for human use. Here we identify DEET-sensitive neurons in a pit-like structure in the Drosophila melanogaster antenna called the sacculus. They express a highly conserved receptor, Ir40a, and flies in which these neurons are silenced or Ir40a is knocked down lose avoidance to DEET. We used a computational structure–activity screen of >400,000 compounds that identified >100 natural compounds as candidate repellents. We tested several and found that most activate Ir40a+ neurons and are repellents for Drosophila. These compounds are also strong repellents for mosquitoes. The candidates contain chemicals that do not dissolve plastic, are affordable and smell mildly like grapes, with three considered safe in human foods. Our findings pave the way to discover new generations of repellents that will help fight deadly insect-borne diseases worldwide.

Steine kann man nicht essen!
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