Organization of olfactory centres in the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae

Olena Riabinina, Darya Task, Elizabeth Marr, Chun Chieh Lin, Robert Alford, David A. O'Brochta, Christopher J. Potter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Mosquitoes are vectors for multiple infectious human diseases and use a variety of sensory cues (olfactory, temperature, humidity and visual) to locate a human host. A comprehensive understanding of the circuitry underlying sensory signalling in the mosquito brain is lacking. Here we used the Q-system of binary gene expression to develop transgenic lines of Anopheles gambiae in which olfactory receptor neurons expressing the odorant receptor co-receptor (Orco) gene are labelled with GFP. These neurons project from the antennae and maxillary palps to the antennal lobe (AL) and from the labella on the proboscis to the suboesophageal zone (SEZ), suggesting integration of olfactory and gustatory signals occurs in this brain region. We present detailed anatomical maps of olfactory innervations in the AL and the SEZ, identifying glomeruli that may respond to human body odours or carbon dioxide. Our results pave the way for anatomical and functional neurogenetic studies of sensory processing in mosquitoes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number13010
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - Oct 3 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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