Artist: Emily Harrington. Copyright: All rights reserved. See gallery for details.
"[O]dorant receptors are surrounded by an aqueous environment – the sensillar lymph. Although thin (1µm), this aqueous layer is impenetrable for hydrophobic compounds per se. Thus, the transport through this barrier is assisted by odorant-binding proteins (OBPs)." (Leal 2005:7)
"Pheromones (and other semiochemicals) enter the sensillar lymph through pore tubules in the cuticle (sensillar wall), are solubilized upon being encapsulated by odorant-binding proteins, and transported to the olfactory receptors. Bound pheromone molecules are protected from odorant-degrading enzymes. Upon interaction with negatively-charged sites at the dendritic membrane, the OBP-ligand complex undergoes a conformational change that leads to the ejection of pheromone. " (Leal 2005:8)