John R Carlson
Eugene Higgins Prof of Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology
Drosophila, olfaction, taste, Anopheles, mosquito
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
receptor (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.
- Koh, T.-W., He, Z., Gorur-Shandilya, S., Menuz, K., Larter, N., Stewart, S., and Carlson, J. (2014) The Drosophila IR20a clade of ionotropic receptors are candidate taste and pheromone receptors, Neuron 83, 850-865.
- Su, C.-Y., Menuz, K., Reisert, J. and Carlson, J. (2012) Non-synaptic inhibition between grouped neurons in an olfactory circuit, Nature 492, 66-71.
- Carlson, J. and Carey, A. (2011) Scent of a Human, Scientific American 305, 76-79.
- Weiss, L., Dahanukar, A., Kwon, J.Y., Banerjee, D. and Carlson, J. (2011). The molecular and cellular basis of bitter taste in Drosophila, Neuron 69, 258-272
- Carey, A., Wang, G., Su, C.-Y., Zwiebel, L., and J. Carlson (2010). Odor reception in the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae, Nature 464, 66-71.
- Kreher, S., Kim, J., and Carlson, J. (2008) Translation of sensory input into behavioral output via an olfactory system, Neuron 59, 110-124.
- Ray, A., Van der Goes van Naters, W., Shiraiwa, T., and Carlson, J. (2007). Mechanisms of odor receptor gene choice in Drosophila. Neuron 53:353-369.
- Dahanukar, A., Lei, Y., Kwon, J, and Carlson, J. (2007) Two Gr genes underlie sugar reception in Drosophila, Neuron 56, 503-516.
- Hallem, E. and Carlson, J.R. (2006). Odor coding by a receptor repertoire. Cell 125:143-160.
- Hallem, E., Ho, M., and Carlson, J. (2004) The molecular basis of odor coding in the Drosophila antenna, Cell 117, 965-980.