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Issue 5, 2017
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Contact chemosensation of phytochemicals by insect herbivores

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Abstract

Contact chemosensation, or tasting, is a complex process governed by nonvolatile phytochemicals that tell host-seeking insects whether they should accept or reject a plant. During this process, insect gustatory receptors (GRs) contribute to deciphering a host plant's metabolic code. GRs recognise many different classes of nonvolatile compounds; some GRs are likely to be narrowly tuned and others, broadly tuned. Although primary and/or secondary plant metabolites influence the insect's feeding choice, their decoding by GRs is challenging, because metabolites in planta occur in complex mixtures that have additive or inhibitory effects; in diverse forms composed of structurally unrelated molecules; and at different concentrations depending on the plant species, its tissue and developmental stage. Future studies of the mechanism of insect herbivore GRs will benefit from functional characterisation taking into account the spatio-temporal dynamics and diversity of the plant's metabolome. Metabolic information, in turn, will help to elucidate the impact of single ligands and complex natural mixtures on the insect's feeding choice.

Graphical abstract: Contact chemosensation of phytochemicals by insect herbivores

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Publication details

The article was received on 09 Jan 2017 and first published on 09 May 2017


Article type: Viewpoint
DOI: 10.1039/C7NP00002B
Nat. Prod. Rep., 2017,34, 478-483
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
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    Contact chemosensation of phytochemicals by insect herbivores

    S. Pentzold, A. Burse and W. Boland, Nat. Prod. Rep., 2017, 34, 478
    DOI: 10.1039/C7NP00002B

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