Invertebrate Neuroscience

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 107-119

First online:

Insect ryanodine receptors: molecular targets for novel pest control chemicals

  • David B. SattelleAffiliated withMRC Functional Genomics Unit, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford
  • , Daniel CordovaAffiliated withDupont Crop Protection, Stine-Haskell Research Center Email author 
  • , Timothy R. CheekAffiliated withInstitute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences, The Medical School, University of Newcastle upon Tyne

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Ryanodine receptors (RyRs) are a distinct class of ligand-gated calcium channels controlling the release of calcium from intracellular stores. They are located on the sarcoplasmic reticulum of muscle and the endoplasmic reticulum of neurons and many other cell types. Ryanodine, a plant alkaloid and an important ligand used to characterize and purify the receptor, has served as a natural botanical insecticide, but attempts to generate synthetic commercial analogues of ryanodine have proved unsuccessful. Recently two classes of synthetic chemicals have emerged resulting in commercial insecticides that target insect RyRs. The phthalic acid diamide class has yielded flubendiamide, the first synthetic ryanodine receptor insecticide to be commercialized. Shortly after the discovery of the phthalic diamides, the anthranilic diamides were discovered. This class has produced the insecticides Rynaxypyr® and Cyazypyr™. Here we review the structure and functions of insect RyRs and address the modes of action of phthalic acid diamides and anthranilic diamides on insect ryanodine receptors. Particularly intersting is the inherent selectivity both chemical classes exhibit for insect RyRs over their mammalian counterparts. The future prospects for RyRs as a commercially-validated target site for insect control chemicals are also considered.