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Elucidating the Mechanisms of Insect’s Chemical Taste to Understand Specific Host-Plant Selection

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 ChemoSense project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the ChemoSense project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "ChemoSense" about.

drinks    salicin    mechanisms    fish    tissue    feed    identification    regulators    receptors    elucidate    feeding    light    surprising    pave    grs    insects    plantations    select    genes    electrophysiological    certain    rna    stimulant    little    leaf    sense    soluble    food    survival    economically    vitro    transcriptome    trees    beetle    taste    chemicals    consume    transcript    animal    enhances    species    plants    stimulants    pest    single    decide    characterise    global    huge    plant    mediate    hypothesised    sequencing    silenced    visualisation    oviposition    mating    reject    timber    respectively    eats    candidate    reproductive    pests    significantly    knock    elicit    host    insect    relatively    forestry    specialist    rnai    gr    worldwide    heterologous    intake    alternatively    chrysomela    beetles    encoding    shed    sustainable    vivo    detected    discriminate    herbivorous    poplar    accept    populi    despite    function    interact    unknown    damage    gustatory    question    glucoside    agricultural    expression    phenolic    ligand    initiate    recordings   

Project "ChemoSense" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: 80539
website: n.a.

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Germany [DE]
 Project website
 Total cost 171˙460 €
 EC max contribution 171˙460 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.3.2. (Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility)
 Code Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2015
 Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-EF-ST
 Starting year 2016
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2016-12-01   to  2019-01-28


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

The sense of taste enables an animal to decide what it eats and drinks. Insects are able to discriminate among soluble chemicals via their gustatory receptors (GRs) in order to accept or reject a certain food plant or initiate mating and oviposition. Despite their essential role in the insect’s overall food intake, survival and reproductive success, relatively little is known about insect GRs, especially in beetles. This is surprising given their importance as agricultural and forestry pests, their global distribution and huge species number as herbivorous insects. I aim to identify and characterise GRs that mediate host plant selection in a specialist poplar leaf beetle, Chrysomela populi. These beetles feed on economically important poplar trees and damage timber plantations worldwide. It is hypothesised that the phenolic glucoside salicin in poplar is a major taste stimulant for C. populi and enhances feeding activity. However, it is unknown how salicin or, alternatively, other taste stimulants are detected by, and interact with specific GRs in C. populi to elicit feeding behaviour. I will elucidate these mechanisms by (i) identification of candidate genes encoding GRs in C. populi via tissue specific transcriptome sequencing and transcript visualisation via RNA-FISH, (ii) knock-down of single GR genes via RNAi to test the feeding behaviour of RNAi-silenced beetles, and (iii) test whether any of the taste stimulants from poplar function as in vivo and in vitro ligand for specific C. populi GRs by tissue-specific electrophysiological recordings and heterologous expression, respectively. These results will shed new light on the question how GRs function as regulators for herbivorous beetles to select and consume specific plants, which will significantly advance our knowledge in understanding host plant selection. As poplar leaf beetles are important pests, the results may also pave the way for timely development of sustainable pest management in forestry.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2017 Stefan Pentzold, Antje Burse, Wilhelm Boland
Contact chemosensation of phytochemicals by insect herbivores
published pages: 478-483, ISSN: 0265-0568, DOI: 10.1039/C7NP00002B
Nat. Prod. Rep. 34/5 2019-08-30
2017 Stefan Pentzold, Antje Burse, Wilhelm Boland
Contact chemosensation in the poplar leaf beetle, Chrysomela populi – first molecular, chemical and behavioural insights.
published pages: 35-36, ISSN: , DOI:
Entomology Congress 2017 March 2017 2019-08-30
2019 Stefan Pentzold, Frédéric Marion-Poll, Veit Grabe, Antje Burse
Autofluorescence-Based Identification and Functional Validation of Antennal Gustatory Sensilla in a Specialist Leaf Beetle
published pages: 1-9, ISSN: 1664-042X, DOI: 10.3389/fphys.2019.00343
Frontiers in Physiology 10 2019-08-30
2018 Stefan Pentzold, Veit Grabe, Andrei Ogonkov, Lydia Schmidt, Wilhelm Boland, Antje Burse
Silencing cuticular pigmentation genes enables RNA FISH in intact insect appendages
published pages: jeb185710, ISSN: 0022-0949, DOI: 10.1242/jeb.185710
The Journal of Experimental Biology 221/18 2019-08-30

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