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  • odor | Newswire
    brains and determined that the human sense of smell is far more refined than previously thought While individual volunteers performance varied on average people can tell the difference between complex mixtures of odors even when they contain many of the same components More Tags Leslie B Vosshall odor smell Search for Categories Science News Awards and Honors Campus News Grants Gifts Topics Video Archive 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 more

    Original URL path: http://newswire.rockefeller.edu/tag/odor/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Research shows combination of sensory signals draw mosquitoes in for a bite | Newswire
    Normal mosquitoes weren t attracted to the warmth unless carbon dioxide was also emanating from it and mutants weren t drawn to the plate at all The team found a similar interaction between lactic acid a compound in human breath and skin odor and CO 2 attraction to the odor was dependent on the presence of carbon dioxide Relying on multiple sensory cues helps organisms make informed decisions about context dependent behaviors says McMeniman In the case of a female mosquito this would allow her to accurately hone in on a human host to blood feed When the scientists tested the ability of these CO 2 blind mutants to find humans in a real world set up the difference between mutants and normal mosquitoes was less significant The insects were examined in a humid greenhouse type enclosure in Australia where human volunteers sat and captured the insects as they landed on them McMeniman devised a way to make the mutant mosquitoes glow in the dark and counted them afterward The mosquitoes without CO 2 sensing abilities were only impaired by 15 percent The mutants were clued in by other factors the combination of heat and odor coming off the human subjects However when a similar concept was tested on a larger scale with a mouse as the subject the mutants were much less likely to bite meaning that without carbon dioxide as a cue the effect of odor and heat are diminished as the insect moves farther away from the host For mosquitoes access to blood is crucial It is only the female mosquitoes that bite and the blood they collect is necessary to produce fertile eggs Because blood feeding is such an important behavior for the mosquito evolution has built in these mechanisms that ensure the most efficient use

    Original URL path: http://newswire.rockefeller.edu/2014/02/27/research-shows-combination-of-sensory-signals-draw-mosquitoes-in-for-a-bite/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Mutant mosquitoes lose their appetite for humans | Newswire
    virus using zinc finger nucleases enzymes that can make precise breaks in an organism s DNA and have been used in fish rats crickets and other creatures They made a mutation in the mosquito s orco gene which codes for a co receptor essential to the insect s ability to use its 131 odorant receptors The researchers hypothesized that the odorant receptors help the mosquitoes sniff out their human hosts and wanted to see how altering those receptors would affect the bug s behavior DeGennaro and his colleagues devised a potent human odor carrier to test the mosquitoes behavior a modified nylon stocking that the lab members wore on their arms for 24 hours sans deodorant letting the fabric soak up their scent The mutant mosquitoes were not drawn to human odors alone says DeGennaro But in the presence of carbon dioxide the insects were drawn to the sleeve This shows us that mosquitoes use several mechanisms for sensing human odor and CO 2 plays an important role here The A aegypti mosquitoes normally show a strong preference for humans compared with other animals but when given the option the mutant mosquitoes were nearly as attracted to a guinea pig as they were a human arm The odorant receptors proved to be crucial for the insect s attraction to humans The researchers then looked at how these mutant mosquitoes behaved in the presence of DEET the active ingredient in many insect repellants Without their normal odorant receptors the insects had no qualms about landing on a DEET covered arm But then a peculiar thing happened they flew off without biting DeGennaro and his colleagues confirmed this behavior by taking a video of the insects and watching it in slow motion This is evidence that DEET works through two pathways says

    Original URL path: http://newswire.rockefeller.edu/2013/06/01/researchers-find-orco-gene-gives-mosquitoes-appetite-for-humans/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Scientists detect an ancient odor-detecting mechanism in insects | Newswire
    the synapse and mediate fast neuronal communication So the idea that the fly has massively expanded the number of these receptors and positioned them to interact with small molecules in the air seems very strange But if you think about it it makes sense The process is the same but rather than grabbing small molecules at the synapse they re grabbing small molecules from the air The project began two years ago when Vosshall and Richard Benton then a postdoc in her lab noticed a group of six ionotropic glutamate receptor genes while sifting through the fly genome Although this group was recognized 10 years ago ever since the genome was sequenced the genes did not have a known function in part because it was assumed they must be similar to any other ionotropic glutamate receptor deep in the fly brain But to Vosshall and Benton who is now at the Center for Integrative Genomics in Lausanne Switzerland that didn t matter Vosshall and her team wondered whether these receptors could in fact represent the missing receptors thought to exist in the fly s nose its two antennae Each antenna is divided into three types of smell neurons Scientists have characterized the receptors that detect odors in two of these types but those receptors were mysteriously absent in the third a swath of territory known as the coeloconic sensilla It has been shown that cells in the coeloconic sensilla detect odors Vosshall says It s just that we didn t know how they did it The team showed that these receptors which the Vosshall lab named ionotropic receptors do in fact explain how cells in coeloconic sensilla detect odors First they showed that they are expressed in complex combinatorial patterns at the sensory end of olfactory neurons where they have

    Original URL path: http://newswire.rockefeller.edu/2009/01/08/scientists-detect-an-ancient-odor-detecting-mechanism-in-insects/ (2016-02-13)
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  • In lean times, flies can’t survive without their sense of smell | Newswire
    the fly nose that works in tandem with most other odorant receptors to detect a complex array of odors so fruit flies without this protein could smell hardly anything at all The other strain had Or83b but only one working odorant receptor In previous work Vosshall had observed that both strains survived as well as fruit flies that had a normal sense of smell That was the puzzle says Vosshall who is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator If smell is so important then why are these odor blind animals doing as well as the animals that have a very good nose To find out the answer Vosshall and her colleagues made the fruit flies lives more difficult In the first experiment the researchers placed five times the original number of fruit flies in each cage but didn t add more food Under these conditions the survival rate of each fruit fly strain was equally low But when the researchers placed a second bolus of food at the opposite ends of each strain s cage the situation changed The fruit flies that couldn t smell continued to die while the fruit flies that had a normal sense of smell lived on Those with the simplified olfactory system fared in between When the first cup of food was exhausted the animals with the normal sense of smell started to forage and very efficiently found that second cup much more so than those with the simple nose explains Vosshall The odor blind animals didn t have a sense of smell to guide them In the second experiment the scientists went a step further They placed odor blind flies in the same cage as the normal fruit flies so that the two strains had to compete for limited food When there was

    Original URL path: http://newswire.rockefeller.edu/2008/07/31/in-lean-times-flies-cant-survive-without-their-sense-of-smell/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Two Rockefeller faculty become new HHMI investigators | Newswire
    affiliate where he has worked since 1999 His research explores the mechanisms underlying virus host interactions focusing on how HIV replicates in human cells and his discoveries have deepened our understanding of the intricate exchange between HIV and the white blood cells it infects Leslie Vosshall Chemers Family Associate Professor and head of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior probes the molecular and neural mechanisms behind how organisms from fruit flies to humans sense smells and how this sense affects behavior Recent work in her lab has created a nearly complete map of the fruit fly s olfactory system and has identified proteins in mosquitoes that detect carbon dioxide She joined Rockefeller as assistant professor in 2000 Being selected as an HHMI investigator is a tremendous honor and only the brightest and most exceptional scientists make the cut says Paul Nurse the university s president This recognition of Leslie and Paul as among the best in their fields is deeply gratifying HHMI chose the 56 scientists from among 1 070 applications submitted in a nationwide competition which was announced in 2007 Researchers with 4 to 10 years of experience as faculty members at more than 200 institutions were eligible to

    Original URL path: http://newswire.rockefeller.edu/2008/06/02/two-rockefeller-faculty-become-new-hhmi-investigators/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Insects evolved a radically different strategy to smell | Newswire
    and Behavior at Rockefeller University So it s actually unreasonable to think that insects use a different strategy to detect odors But here we show that insects have gotten rid of all this stuff in the middle and activate the gate directly The gate a doughnut shaped protein called an ion channel provides a safe pathway for ions to flow into a cell When molecules bind to the odor sensitive ion channel the protein changes its shape much like a gate or door changes its conformation as it is opened and closed Opened it allows millions of ions to surge into the cell Closed it prohibits the activity of the ions from sending a signal to the brain that an odor is present At the University of Tokyo Vosshall s colleague Kazushige Touhara and his lab members puffed molecules onto cells engineered to make insect olfactory receptors They then measured how long it took for the ion channel to open and recorded their electrical movement as they surged inside the cell via the channel The rush of electrical activity occurred too fast for a series of steps to be involved says Vosshall In addition poisoning several proteins involved in the G protein pathway didn t affect the ions or the ion channel suggesting that G protein signaling isn t primarily involved in insect smell Experiment after experiment the most consistent interpretation is that these are ion channels directly gated by odors says Vosshall But the dominant thinking in the field may have reflected an experimental bias that aimed at proving a more elaborate scheme The ion channels don t resemble any known ion channel on Earth says Vosshall They are composed of two proteins that work in tandem with one another an olfactory receptor and its coreceptor Or83b While the

    Original URL path: http://newswire.rockefeller.edu/2008/04/14/insects-evolved-a-radically-different-strategy-to-smell/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Chemical in bug spray works by masking human odors | Newswire
    them to odors It was a great unsolved problem Mosquitoes are strongly attracted to odors in human breath and sweat including carbon dioxide lactic acid and an alcohol based compound called 1 octen 3 ol Different receptors within their olfactory system detect these odors among others and lead them to their prey DEET simply interferes with the proper functioning of odorant receptors making the hunt for a tasty meal all the more difficult But this interference is selective To see DEET s effect on different odorant receptors the researchers recorded the electrical activity of cells in the mosquito olfactory system while exposing the insects to the chemical They found that DEET only shuts down those receptors that work in tandem with a smell coreceptor called Or83b which is present in all insects Whereas DEET shuts down the receptor pairs that detect 1 octen 3 ol and two other sweaty odors it doesn t affect the lone receptor that detects carbon dioxide That s because this carbon dioxide receptor doesn t require Or83b to function whereas the sweaty odor receptors do Each receptor complex has different properties says Vosshall And the idea is that DEET is acting on the uniqueness of this complex Since mosquitoes that lack this coreceptor have yet to be genetically engineered Vosshall and her group used fruit fly mutants that do not have the coreceptor While normal flies avoid a vial treated with DEET the researchers found that flies without the coreceptor ventured into the vials suggesting that Or83b is required to detect this potent chemical Vosshall then proved that DEET specifically affects the receptor coreceptor as a unit by isolating the RNA of each and injecting both into a frog egg As expected DEET inhibited the odorant receptor coreceptor complex even in this environment which was

    Original URL path: http://newswire.rockefeller.edu/2008/03/13/chemical-in-bug-spray-works-by-masking-human-odors/ (2016-02-13)
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