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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.

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

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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