The order Isopoda contains both aquatic and terrestrial species, among which Hemilepistus reaumurii, which lives in arid environments and is the most adapted to terrestrial life. Olfaction has been deeply investigated in insects while it has received very limited attention in other arthropods, particularly in terrestrial crustaceans. In insects, soluble proteins belonging to two main families, Odorant Binding Proteins (OBPs) and Chemosensory Proteins (CSPs), are contained in the olfactory sensillar lymph and are suggested to act as carriers of hydrophobic semiochemicals to or from membrane-bound olfactory receptors. Other protein families, namely Nieman-Pick type 2 (NPC2) and Lipocalins (LCNs) have been also reported as putative odorant carriers in insects and other arthropod clades. In this study, we have sequenced and analysed the transcriptomes of antennae and of the first pair of legs of H. reaumurii focusing on soluble olfactory proteins. Interestingly, we have found 13 genes encoding CSPs, whose sequences differ from those of the other arthropod clades, including non-isopod crustaceans, for the presence of two additional cysteine residues, besides the four conserved ones. Binding assays on two of these proteins showed strong affinities for fatty acids and long-chain unsaturated esters and aldehydes, putative semiochemicals for this species.
- Exploration of Biological Resources