Bioallethrin activates specific olfactory sensory neurons and elicits spatial repellency in Aedes aegypti.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Use of pyrethroid insecticides is a pivotal strategy for mosquito control globally. Commonly known for their insecticidal activity by acting on voltage-gated sodium channels, pyrethroids, such as bioallethrin and transfluthrin, are used in mosquito coils, emanators and other vaporizers to repel mosquitoes and other biting arthropods. However, whether specific olfactory receptor neurons are activated by pyrethroids to trigger spatial repellency remains unknown.


We used behavioral and electrophysiological approaches to elucidate the mechanism of bioallethrin repellency in Aedes aegypti, a major vector of dengue, yellow fever, Zika and chikungunya viruses. We found that bioallethrin elicits spatial (i.e. non-contact) repellency and activates a specific type of olfactory receptor neuron in mosquito antennae. Furthermore, bioallethrin repellency is significantly reduced in a mosquito mutant of Orco, an obligate olfactory co-receptor that is essential for the function of odorant receptors (Ors). These results indicate that activation of specific Or(s) by bioallethrin contributes to bioallethrin repellency. In addition, bioallethrin repellency was reduced in a pyrethroid-resistant strain that carries two mutations in the sodium channel gene that are responsible for knockdown resistance (kdr) to pyrethroids, indicating a role of activation of sodium channels in bioallethrin repellency.


Results from this study show that bioallethrin repellency is likely to be the result of co-activation of Or(s) and sodium channels. These findings not only contribute to our understanding of the modes of action of volatile pyrethroids in spatial repellency, but also provide a framework for developing new repellents based on the dual-target mechanism revealed. © 2021 Society of Chemical Industry.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Valbon, W; Andreazza, F; Oliveira, EE; Liu, F; Feng, B; Hall, M; Klimavicz, J; Coats, JR; Dong, K

Published Date

  • February 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 78 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 438 - 445

PubMed ID

  • 34661374

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8748403

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1526-4998

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1526-498X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/ps.6682


  • eng