The chemoreceptors and odorant binding proteins of the soybean and pea aphids

Hugh M. Robertson, Erica C.N. Robertson, Kimberly K.O. Walden, Laramy S. Enders, Nicholas J. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined the genome of the soybean aphid, Aphis glycines, and an updated genome assembly of the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum, for members of the three major families of chemoreceptors, the Odorant Receptors (ORs), Gustatory Receptors (GRs) and Ionotropic Receptors (IRs), as well as the Odorant Binding Proteins (OBPs). The soybean aphid has 47 ORs, 61 GRs, 19 IRs, and 10 OBPs, compared with 87 ORs, 78 Grs, 19 IRs, and 18 OBPs in the pea aphid, with variable numbers of pseudogenes in the OR and GR families. Phylogenetic analysis reveals that while all of the IRs are simple orthologs between these two species, the OR, GR, and OBP families in the pea aphid have experienced major expansions of particular gene lineages and fewer losses of gene lineages. This imbalance in birth-and-death of chemosensory genes has led to the larger pea aphid gene repertoire, which might be related to the broader host range of pea aphids versus the specialization of soybean aphids on a single summer host plant. Examination of the expression levels of these chemosensory genes in parthenogenetic and sexual females and males of pea aphids revealed multiple genes that are differentially expressed in sexual females or males and might be involved in reproductive biology. Examination of the soybean aphid genes in parthenogenetic females under multiple stressors revealed multiple genes whose expression levels changed with heat or starvation stress, the latter potentially important in finding new food sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-78
Number of pages10
JournalInsect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • Gustatory receptor
  • Ionotropic receptor
  • Odorant receptor
  • Sex-biased expression
  • Stress-related expression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


Dive into the research topics of 'The chemoreceptors and odorant binding proteins of the soybean and pea aphids'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this