A gustatory receptor involved in host plant recognition for oviposition of a swallowtail butterfly

Katsuhisa Ozaki, Masasuke Ryuda, Ayumi Yamada, Ai Utoguchi, Hiroshi Ishimoto, Delphine Calas, Frádáric Marion-Poll, Teiichi Tanimura, Hiroshi Yoshikawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)


Swallowtail butterflies belonging to the family of Papilionidae selectively utilize a limited number of plants from a single or a few families. Female butterflies lay eggs on their host only when they detect specific chemicals through their foreleg chemosensilla while drumming on the leaf surface. Here we show that the butterfly, Papilio xuthus, uses a gustatory receptor specific for synephrine to select its host in oviposition behaviour. We identify a gustatory receptor gene involved in the recognition of an oviposition stimulant, synephrine, from the P. xuthus by a combination of in silico, in vitro and in vivo approaches. The receptor, PxutGr1, responds specifically to synephrine in Sf9 cells. The sensitivity of tarsal taste sensilla to synephrine and the oviposition behaviour in response to synephrine are strongly reduced after injecting double-stranded RNA of PxutGr1 into pupae. These observations indicate that the receptor PxutGr1 represents a key factor in host specialization in P. xuthus.

Original languageEnglish
Article number542
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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