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Accueil du site > Scientific Departments > Sensory ecology > Teams > Chemoreception and adaptation (CREA)

Chemoreception and adaptation (CREA)


Research themes

Overall objectives of the team
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Antenne de papillon au microscope électronique à balayage
C. Monsempes et M.C. François©UMR7618

The team investigates the mechanisms of olfactory and gustatory reception in the peripheral sensory systems and their plasticity in a changing biotic and abiotic environment.
We take into account the evolutionary, adaptive and ecophysiological / ecotoxicological contexts.

Our questions are :

  • What are the chemical landscapes the insects leave in ?
  • What are the crucial chemosensory signals they detect ?
  • What are the molecular bases of chemical signal detection at the periphery ?
  • How are ensured the specificity, sensitivity and dynamic of the detection process ?
  • How chemosensory genes participate in insect adaptation to new environments ?

To answer these question, we use an integrative approach that combines physico-chemistry (gas-chromatography, mass-spectrometry), high-throughput tools (such as next generation sequencing and diverses “omic” approaches), functional tools (in vitro and in vivo heterologous expression, transgenesis, genetics, etc.), electrophysiology in peripheral chemosensory systems and behavioral analyses in response to various stimuli (sex pheromone, plant volatiles, etc.).

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Localisation par hybridation in situ des sites d’expression des protéines de liaison aux phéromones dans les antennes de papillon
M.C. François et E. Jacquin-Joly©UMR7618

Our researches - fundamental and applied – uses installed or invasive pest insects for agriculture (moths) or humain health (hematophagous bugs) associated with evo-devo (butterfly) and academic models (Drosophila).

We are also actively involved in university courses of Bachelor and Master of UPMC : biology of organism, entomology, ecophysiology / ecotoxicology, sensory ecology, etc.

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Enregistrement monosensillaire d’une réponse à la phéromone
P. Lucas©UMR7618

► Signals and chemical landscape

These researches aim at analyzing relevant stimuli for the insect in the ecological context of agrobiocenoses.
By combining physico-chemical analyses and ethology, we are studying the connections between the olfactory behavior and the characterized signals, the impact of chemical signals on the relationship between specialized pests and their host plants, and on adaptation and specialization to anthropic environments.

► Functional genomics of chemosensory systems

This theme uses, on our principal model the cotton leafworm Spodoptera littoralis, transcriptomic (RNAseq) and genomic approaches coupled to functional analysis (heterologous expression, transgenesis, etc.) in order to achieve the identification of genes expressed in the chemosensory systems, to understand their genomic organization and their role in various biological contexts.
Thus, our research is guided by different life history traits relevant for the insect (search for the sexual partner, feeding behavior, etc.), in both sexes, in different developmental stages (larvae and adults), in different chemo-sensory systems (antenna but also proboscis, ovipositor, legs, etc.).

► Plasticity and evolution of peripheral chemo- sensory system : an integrated approach

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Enregistrement électrophysiologique sur une chenille
F. Marion-Poll©UMR7618

In this area, we study and compare the mechanisms involved in different types of plasticity at the peripheral level to provide general or specific control patterns as well as to characterize new key genes in the biology of the insect.
Such plasticity, observable in larvae and adults, is studied under different biotic (effect of fasting, mating, change of host plant, etc.) and abiotic parameters (circadian rhythm, exposure to xenobiotic pollutants, to temperature fluctuations, etc.). The impact of these parameters on the chemo-sensory system is studied in an integrative strategy by combining “omic” approaches, physiological and behavioral analyses.
Insects appearing as emerging models to assess the impact of pollutants on land, we evaluate the effect of pesticides (but also other molecules such as heavy metals, endocrine disruptors, etc.) on laboratory strains or anthropic wild strains.
Lastly, we participate in the annotation of chemosensory genes in various genomic projects, allowing evolutive comparisons.

David SIAUSSAT, MC UPMC, head of CREA team