Chemosensory genes identified in the antennal transcriptome of the blowfly Calliphora stygia

Olivia Leitch, Alexie Papanicolaou, Chris Lennard, Kenneth Kirkbride, Alisha Anderson

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    41 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Blowflies have relevance in areas of forensic science, agriculture, and medicine, primarily due to the ability of their larvae to develop on flesh. While it is widely accepted that blowflies rely heavily on olfaction for identifying and locating hosts, there is limited research regarding the underlying molecular mechanisms. Using next generation sequencing (Illumina), this research examined the antennal transcriptome of Calliphora stygia (Fabricius) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) to identify members of the major chemosensory gene families necessary for olfaction. Results: Representative proteins from all chemosensory gene families essential in insect olfaction were identified in the antennae of the blowfly C. stygia, including 50 odorant receptors, 22 ionotropic receptors, 21 gustatory receptors, 28 odorant binding proteins, 4 chemosensory proteins, and 3 sensory neuron membrane proteins. A total of 97 candidate cytochrome P450s and 39 esterases, some of which may act as odorant degrading enzymes, were also identified. Importantly, co-receptors necessary for the proper function of ligand-binding receptors were identified. Putative orthologues for the conserved antennal ionotropic receptors and candidate gustatory receptors for carbon dioxide detection were also amongst the identified proteins. Conclusions: This research provides a comprehensive novel resource that will be fundamental for future studies regarding blowfly olfaction. Such information presents potential benefits to the forensic, pest control, and medical areas, and could assist in the understanding of insecticide resistance and targeted control through cross-species comparisons.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number255
    Pages (from-to)Article: 255
    Number of pages17
    JournalBMC Genomics
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2015


    • Blowfly olfaction
    • Calliphora stygia
    • Chemosensory proteins
    • Odorant receptors
    • Transcriptome

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