Natural odor ligands for olfactory receptor neurons of the female mosquito Aedes aegypti: Use of gas chromatography-linked single sensillum recordings

Majid Ghaninia, Mattias Larsson, Bill S. Hansson, Rickard Ignell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Scopus citations


Female Aedes aegypti are vectors of dengue and yellow fever. Odor volatiles are the predominant cues that drive the host-seeking behavior of Ae. aegypti. Odorant molecules are detected and discriminated by olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) housed in sensory hairs, sensilla, located on the antennae and maxillary palps. In a previous study, we used odor volatiles that are behaviorally and/or electrophysiologically active for Ae. aegypti and other mosquito species to show that antennal ORNs of female Ae. aegypti are divided into functionally different classes. In the present study, we have, for the first time, conducted gas chromatography-coupled single sensillum recordings (GC-SSR) from antennal trichoid and intermediate sensilla of female Ae. aegypti in order to screen for additional putative host attractants and repellents. We used headspace collections from biologically relevant sources, such as different human body parts (including feet, trunk regions and armpit), as well as a plant species used as a mosquito repellent, Nepeta faassenii. We found that a number of ORN types strongly responded to one or more of the biological extracts. GC-SSR recordings revealed several active components, which ware subsequently identified through GC-linked mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Electrophysiologically active volatiles from human skin included heptanal, octanal, nonanal and decanal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3020-3027
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 1 2008
Externally publishedYes



  • Aedes aegypti
  • Biologically active volatiles
  • Electrophysiology
  • Olfactory receptor neurons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science

Cite this