The Insect Type 1 Tyramine Receptors : From Structure to Behavior

Tyramine is a neuroactive compound that acts as neurotransmitter, neuromodulator, and neurohormone in insects. Three G protein-coupled receptors, TAR1-3, are responsible for mediating the intracellular pathway in the complex tyraminergic network. TAR1, the prominent player in this system, was initially classified as an octopamine receptor which can also be activated by tyramine, while it later appeared to be a true tyramine receptor. Even though TAR1 is currently considered as a well-defined tyramine receptor and several insect TAR1s have been characterized, a defined nomenclature is still inconsistent. In the last years, our knowledge on the structural, biochemical, and functional properties of TAR1 has substantially increased. This review summarizes the available information on TAR1 from different insect species in terms of basic structure, its regulation and signal transduction mechanisms, and its distribution and functions in the brain and the periphery. A special focus is given to the TAR1-mediated intracellular signaling pathways as well as to their physiological role in regulating behavioral traits. Therefore, this work aims to correlate, for the first time, the physiological relevance of TAR1 functions with the tyraminergic system in insects. In addition, pharmacological studies have shed light on compounds with insecticidal properties having TAR1 as a target and on the emerging trend in the development of novel strategies for pest control.


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