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Multiple mode of action of the feeding deterrent, toosendanin, on the sense of taste in Pieris brassicae larvae

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Toosendanin, a tetranortriterpenoid isolated from the bark of Melia toosendan, is a feeding deterrent for larvae of Pieris brassicae. By using electrophysiological techniques, it was found that toosendanin stimulates a deterrent receptor cell located in the medial maxillary sensillum styloconicum. Toosendanin also inhibits responses of both the sugar and glucosinolate receptor cell, which are localized in the lateral sensillum styloconicum. The degree of inhibition of the sugar receptor increases with increasing sucrose concentration. The glucosinolate receptor cell shows a reversed reaction: inhibition by toosendanin decreases with increasing sinigrin concentration. Inhibitory effects occur at a toosendanin concentration as low as 10−9 M and are dose dependent. The taste neurons that respond to amino acids or deterrents in the lateral sensillum, however, are not affected by toosendanin. It is concluded that the sensory code underlying feeding behaviour is modulated by toosendanin via several different peripheral sensory mechanisms.

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Schoonhoven, L.M., Lin-er, L. Multiple mode of action of the feeding deterrent, toosendanin, on the sense of taste in Pieris brassicae larvae. J Comp Physiol A 175, 519–524 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00199258

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Key words

  • Feeding deterrent
  • Taste cells
  • Pieris