Molecules and cells

The Mosquito Repellent Citronellal Directly Potentiates Drosophila TRPA1, Facilitating Feeding Suppression.

PMID 26447139


Citronellal, a well-known plant-derived mosquito repellent, was previously reported to repel Drosophila melanogaster via olfactory pathways involving but not directly activating Transient Receptor Potential Ankyrin 1 (TRPA1). Here, we show that citronellal is a direct agonist for Drosophila and human TRPA1s (dTRPA1 and hTRPA1) as well as Anopheles gambiae TRPA1 (agTRPA1). Citronellal-induced activity is isoform-dependent for Drosophila and Anopheles gambiae TRPA1s. The recently identified dTRPA1(A) and ag-TRPA1(A) isoforms showed citronellal-provoked currents with EC50s of 1.0 B1 0.2 and 0.1 B1 0.03 mM, respectively, in Xenopus oocytes, while the sensitivities of TRPA1(B)s were much inferior to those of TRPA1(A)s. Citronellal dramatically enhanced the feeding-inhibitory effect of the TRPA1 agonist N-methylmaleimide (NMM) in Drosophila at an NMM concentration that barely repels flies. Thus, citronellal can promote feeding deterrence of fruit flies through direct action on gustatory dTRPA1, revealing the first isoform-specific function for TRPA1(A).