Pheromone binding to general odorant-binding proteins from the navel orangeworm

Zhao Liu, Diogo M. Vidal, Zainulabeuddin Syed, Yuko Ishida, Walter S. Leal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


General odorant-binding proteins (GOBPs) of moths are postulated to be involved in the reception of semiochemicals other than sex pheromones, the so-called "general odorants." We have expressed two GOBPs, AtraGOBP1 and AtraGOBP2, which were previously isolated from the antennae of the navel orangeworm, Amyelois transitella. Surprisingly, these two proteins did not bind compounds that are known to attract adult moths, particularly females. The proper folding and functionality of the recombinant proteins was inferred from circular dichroism analysis and demonstration that both GOBPs bound nonanal in a pH-dependent manner. EAG experiments demonstrated that female attractants (1-phenylethanol, propionic acid phenyl ester, and isobutyric acid phenyl ester) are detected with high sensitivity by the antennae of day-0 to day-4 adult females, with response declining in older moths. The same age-dependence was shown for male antennae responding to constituents of the sex pheromone. Interestingly, AtraGOBP2 bound the major constituent of the sex pheromone, Z11Z13-16Ald, with affinity comparable to that shown by a pheromone-binding protein, AtraPBP1. The related alcohol bound to AtraPBP1 with higher affinity than to AtraGOBP2. AtraGOBP1 bound both ligands with low but nearly the same affinity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)787-794
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments We are grateful to Bedoukian Research Inc. for providing samples of the constituents of the navel orangeworm sex pheromone; to Dr. Julien Pelletier for helpful comments on the manuscript; and to Dr. Brad Higbee (Paramount Farming) for providing moths and pistachios to reinvigorate and maintain our laboratory colony. Z.L. wishes to thank Professor Baozhen Hua (Northwest A & F University, China) for his guidance during his Ph. D. studies. This work was supported in part by USDA-AFRI Grant 2009-05278, by the Almond Board of California, and by the California Pistachio Research Board. Z.L. (Northwest A & F University, China) was supported by the Scholarship Council of China to conduct part of his Ph.D. studies in Davis and D.M.V. (Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil) received an undergraduate scholarship from Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) under a FIPSE-CAPES sponsored U.S.-Brazil Higher Education Consortium Program.


  • Amyelois transitella
  • AtraGOBP1
  • AtraGOBP2
  • AtraPBP1
  • Circular dichroism
  • Electroantennogram recording
  • Female attractants
  • General odorant-binding proteins
  • Protein expression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry


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