Current Research

Insect Olfactory Receptors
Chemosensory receptors are critical to the ability of insects to function as disease vectors.  For example, mosquitoes find you by smelling you.  Insect olfactory receptors (ORs) are odorant-gated ion channels that are structurally and functionally unrelated to mammalian ORs.  The novel structure of insect ORs and lack of similar receptors in humans and other mammals promises control of deleterious insect species through the development of compounds with higher selectivity and lower environmental toxicity than currently available insecticides and repellants.  However, the most notable characteristic of insect ORs is how little we know about them.  Because we know essentially nothing about the structure of this novel receptor class, we are currently addressing the some very basic questions about insect ORs.
· Where is the odorant binding site?
· Where is the ion pore?
· How many subunits are in the receptor?
· What is the stoichiometry and arrangement of the subunits?
We are currently collaborating with Walter Leal's group (University of California, Davis) to study the ORs of the Southern House Mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus.  
Recent Publications
Rahman, S., Luetje, C.W. (2017) Mutant cycle analysis identifies a ligand interaction site in an odorant receptor of the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae.  Journal of Biological Chemistry, doi:10.1074/jbc.M117.810374 
Kepchia, D. Moliver, S., Phillips, C., Chohan, K., Luetje, C.W. (2017) Inhibition of insect olfactory behavior by an airborne antagonist of the insect odorant receptor co-receptor subunit.  PLoS One 12: e0177454.   
Hughes, D.T., Pelletier, J., Rahman, S., Chen, S., Leal, W.S., Luetje, C.W. (2017) Functional and non-functional forms of Cqui\Or91, an odorant selectivity subunit of Culex quinquefasciatus.  Chemical Senses 42: 333-341.  
Xu, P., Choo, Y.-M., Pelletier, J., Sujimoto, F.R., Hughes, D.T., Zhu, F., Atungulu, E., Cornel, A.J., Luetje, C.W., Leal, W.S. (2013) Silent, Generic and Plant Kairomone Sensitive Odorant Receptors from the Southern House Mosquito. Journal of Insect Physiology 59: 961-966.
Luetje, C.W., Nichols A.S., Castro A., Sherman B.L. (2013) Functional assay of mammalian and insect olfactory receptors using Xenopus oocytes.  Methods in Molecular Biology 1003:187-202.
Mitchell, R.F., Hughes, D.T., Luetje, C.W., Millar, J.G., Soriano-Agaton, F., Hanks, L.M., Robertson, H.M. (2012) Sequencing and characterizing the odorant receptors of the cerambycid beetle Megacyllene caryae (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae).  Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 42(7):499-505.  
Nichols, A.S., Chen, S., Luetje, C.W. (2011) Subunit Contributions to Insect Olfactory Receptor Function: Channel block and odorant recognition.  Chemical Senses 36(9):781-90.
Hughes, D.T., Pelletier, J., Luetje, C.W., Leal, W.S. (2010) Odorant Receptor from the Southern House Mosquito Narrowly Tuned to the Oviposition Attractant Skatole.  Journal of Chemical Ecology 36(8):797-800.
Pelletier, J., Hughes, D.T., Luetje, C.W., Leal, W.S. (2010)
An odorant receptor from the southern house mosquito Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus sensitive to oviposition attractants.  PLoS One 5:e10090.
Nichols, A.S., Luetje, C.W. (2010) Transmembrane segment 3 of Drosophila melanogaster odorant receptor subunit 85b contributes to ligand-receptor interactions.  Journal of Biological Chemistry 285:11854-11862.
Wanner, K.W., Nichols A.S., Allen, J.E., Bunger, P., Garczynski, S.F., Linn, C.E. Jr., Robertson, H.M., Luetje, C.W. (2010)
Sex Pheromone Receptor Specificity in the European Corn Borer Moth, Ostrinia nubilalis.  PLoS One 5:e8685.
Wanner*, K.W., Nichols*, A.S., Walden, K.K.O., Brockmann, A., Luetje, C.W., Robertson, H.M. (2007)
A honeybee odorant receptor for the queen substance 9-oxo-2-decenoic acid.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104:14383-14388. *equal contributions