Odorant receptor-based discovery for head lice

Created on 06.11.15

A new study has revealed that head lice are repelled by physiologically active chemicals via odorant receptors, offering a potential new method for controlling head lice infection.

The study by Pelletier et al., published in the October 2015 edition of Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, analysed the body louse genome for odorant receptors, finding seven candidates.

One odorant receptor in particular, PhumOR2, responded strongly to doses of odorants. Odour repellence was confirmed via avoidance testing in lice, with a strong link being found between the degree of repellence and the degree of odorant receptor response.

The study recommends that PhumOR2 be investigated as a target for novel, effective lice repellents. 

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