Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Accessory protein determines whether pheromones are detected

18.10.2007
Pheromones are like the molecules you taste as you chomp on a greasy french fry: big and fatty. In research to be published in the October 17 advance online issue of Nature, Rockefeller University researchers reveal an unanticipated role for a new CD36-like protein to help cells detect these invisible communication signals that drive a wide range of behaviors, from recognizing a sibling to courting a mate, a finding that may explain what pheromone communication, pathogen recognition and fat taste perception all have in common.

Scientists led by Leslie Vosshall, head of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior, have found that this protein, called SNMP, or Sensory Neuron Membrane Protein, plays an accessory, yet essential role in helping neurons detect pheromones. Although SNMP plays a specific role in insect pheromone detection, it is a member of the CD36 family of proteins, members of which are found on the surfaces of many cells and have diverse roles, ranging from fatty-acid breakdown to innate immunity.

The pheromone that Vosshall and her colleagues tested, cVA, also known as cis-vaccenyl acetate, binds to a receptor complex and induces aggregation in Drosophila melanogaster. "I think of it as a 'party pheromone,'" says Vosshall. "If a few male flies are hanging out, other flies, male and female, will smell the cVA and tend to gather, and if the mood hits them, the males will court the females that join the group." When Drosophila do mate, the male transfers cVA to the female and marks her as taken, making her less interesting to other males. Prior research has implicated the receptor complex in pheromone detection, but this is the first time researchers have shown that SNMP is essential for neurons to respond to these signals.

When neurons detect cVA, those that express SNMP fire very rapidly, a response not seen in neurons that lack SNMP. However, when mutants were reengineered to express the protein, this response was restored. When flies were engineered to express a moth pheromone receptor, these fly neurons got excited by moth pheromone, and this response also required SNMP. So SNMP seems to be essential for handing off insect pheromones of all types, and will probably be important for pheromone reception in all insects.

... more about:
»CD36 »Protein »SNMP »Vosshall »cVA »neurons »receptor

In this study, Vosshall and her colleagues present a unifying mechanism of action for CD36 proteins, despite their wide range of biological functions. "Our work suggests that wherever you have lipid-like molecules that need to be detected or captured by cells, these CD36 proteins appear to be necessary to grab these molecules and present them to a specific cell-surface receptor," says Vosshall.

In the case of immune recognition, a CD36 protein grabs a bacterial lipid fragment and delivers it to its receptor. These proteins are also found in the tongue, where CD36 has been suggested to function as a fat taste receptor. Based on the SNMP work, Vosshall suspects that CD36 probably plays an accessory, yet essential role - it binds that big, fatty molecule from your french fry and presents it to the real, as yet unidentified, fat taste receptor.

Thania Benios | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rockefeller.edu

Further reports about: CD36 Protein SNMP Vosshall cVA neurons receptor

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Programming cells with computer-like logic
27.07.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht Identified the component that allows a lethal bacteria to spread resistance to antibiotics
27.07.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Physicists Design Ultrafocused Pulses

Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.

Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Programming cells with computer-like logic

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Identified the component that allows a lethal bacteria to spread resistance to antibiotics

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Malaria Already Endemic in the Mediterranean by the Roman Period

27.07.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>