, Volume 5, Issue 3-4, pp 119-133
Date: 20 Sep 2005

Ion channels: molecular targets of neuroactive insecticides

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Abstract

Many of the insecticides in current use act on molecular targets in the insect nervous system. Recently, our understanding of these targets has improved as a result of the complete sequencing of an insect genome, i.e., Drosophila melanogaster. Here we examine the recent work, drawing on genetics, genomics and physiology, which has provided evidence that specific receptors and ion channels are targeted by distinct chemical classes of insect control agents. The examples discussed include, sodium channels (pyrethroids, p,p′-dichlorodiphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT), dihydropyrazoles and oxadiazines); nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (cartap, spinosad, imidacloprid and related nitromethylenes/nitroguanidines); γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors (cyclodienes, γ-BHC and fipronil) and L-glutamate receptors (avermectins). Finally, we have examined the molecular basis of resistance to these molecules, which in some cases involves mutations in the molecular target, and we also consider the future impact of molecular genetic technologies in our understanding of the actions of neuroactive insecticides.