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Pyrethrum extracts from flower heads of Chrysanthemum spp. have been used worldwide in insecticides and repellents. While the molecular mechanisms of its insecticidal action are known, the molecular basis of pyrethrum repellency remains a mystery. In this study, we find that the principal components of pyrethrum, pyrethrins, and a minor component, (E)-β-farnesene (EBF), each activate a specific type of olfactory receptor neurons in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. We identify Ae. aegypti odorant receptor 31 (AaOr31) as a cognate Or for EBF and find that Or31-mediated repellency is significantly synergized by pyrethrin-induced activation of voltage-gated sodium channels. Thus, pyrethrum exerts spatial repellency through a novel, dual-target mechanism. Elucidation of this two-target mechanism may have potential implications in the design and development of a new generation of synthetic repellents against major mosquito vectors of infectious diseases.
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Liu, Feng; Wang, Qiang; Xu, Peng; Andreazza, Felipe; Valbon, Wilson R.; Bandason, Elizabeth; Chen, Mengli; Yan, Ru; Feng, Bo; Smith, Leticia B.; Scott, Jeffrey G.; Takamatsu, Genki; Ihara, Makoto; Matsuda, Kazuhiko; Klimavicz, James; Coats, Joel; Oliveira, Eugenio E.; Du, Yuzhe; and Dong, Ke, "A dual-target molecular mechanism of pyrethrum repellency against mosquitoes" (2021). Entomology Publications. 593.