John R Carlson, PhD

Eugene Higgins Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

Research Interests

Arthropod Vectors; Drosophila; Smell; Taste

Research Organizations

Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

Kavli Institute for Neuroscience

Yale Combined Program in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS): Plant Molecular Biology

Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program

Faculty Research

Research Summary

Olfaction mediates the attraction of insects to humans and
thus underlies the transmission of disease to hundreds of millions of people
each year. Olfaction offers a
wealth of biological problems. How
does an odor or a pheromone activate a receptor, a cell, and a circuit so as to
elicit an attractive response? Drosophila
has a highly sophisticated olfactory system, which we study with molecular,
genetic, physiological and behavioral approaches. We used a computational
algorithm to discover a family of 60 Odor
recepto
r (Or) genes. We have systematically identified
the ligand specificities of the odor receptors by expressing
each in an in vivo expression
system. This approach also
identified odor receptors of the malaria mosquito Anopheles that respond to components of human sweat. A major
problem is how the responses of the odor receptor repertoire are translated
into a behavioral response. We
have also identified a family of 60 Gr
genes that encode taste receptors.
We have recently found that another, largely unexplored gene family may
encode a different class of taste receptors. Understanding of the mechanisms of insect chemoperception
may lead to new strategies for controlling insect-borne disease.

Selected Publications

Full List of PubMed Publications

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