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Hubert Amrein

Hubert Amrein


Department of Molecular and Cellular Medicine

Room 242 Reynolds Medical Building
1114 TAMU

College Station , TX 77843-1114
Office Phone: (979) 845-6742


  1. B.S., Genetics and Molecular Biology, University of Zürich, 1983
  2. Ph.D., Molecular Genetics, University of Zürich, 1989
  3. Post-doc., Harvard University (Dr. Tom Maniatis)
  4. Post-doc., Columbia University (Dr. Richard Axel)


Hubert Amrein is a Professor of Molecular and Cellular Medicine. He became an Assistant Professor in the Department of Genetics at Duke University in 1998, where he received tenure and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2005.  Dr. Amrein joined the faculty at Texas A&M Health Science Center in September 2009.

Dr. Amrein’s broad research interests are concerned with the sensory perception of the external chemical world. The central questions investigated in the laboratory are concerned with how animals detect and discriminate among the thousands of different chemical signals that “flood” the olfactory and taste organs. The laboratory uses Drosophila as a model to study these problems because the Drosophila chemosensory systems are structurally and functionally very similar to those of mammals, yet they are smaller and somewhat less complex, which makes them excellent models to investigate the molecular and neural basis of olfaction and taste.

The current focus of the lab is to determine the molecular and neural basis of sugar and amino acid perception. In addition, the laboratory seeks to identify and determine the role of pheromone receptors in social behaviors including, courtship and mating, egg laying, and aggression.  A new and exciting line of studies involves the search for receptors and signaling molecules involved in auditory perception. Acoustic signals, along with pheromone cues, provide the major sensory input in the social interaction of Drosophila, as well as many other animals.

The laboratory takes advantage of all molecular and genetic tools available in the Drosophila model system, including classic genetic analysis, transgenesis, gene knock out studies using homologous recombination and all types of RNA and DNA analyses (microarray, qRT-PCR, Northern and Southern analysis etc). A variety of cellular and anatomical investigations of the chemosensory systems and the CNS using immunological methods (antibody staining etc), as well as in situ hybridization, are also employed. Finally, the functional analysis of genetically modified animals is pursued using numerous behavioral paradigms and electrophysiological assays.

Selected Publications:

Mishra, D, Miyamoto, T. Rezenom, Y.H., Broussard, A., Yavuz, A., Slone, J., Russell D.H., and Amrein, H. 2013. The Molecular Basis of Sugar Sensing in Drosophila Larvae. Current Biology 23 (15) 1466-1471.

Miyamoto, T., Wright, G. and Amrein, H. 2013. Nutrient Sensors. Current Biology 23 (9),  R369-373.

Miyamoto T., Chen, Y., Slone J. and Amrein, H. 2013. Identification of a DrosophilaGlucose Receptor Using Ca2+ Imaging of Single Chemosensory Neurons. PLoS ONE 8 (2), e56304.

Miyamoto, T., Slone, J.,  Song, X. and Amrein, H. 2012. A fructose receptor functions as a nutrient sensor in the Drosophila brain. Cell 151 (5), 1113-1125.

Wang, L., Han, X.,  Mehren, J., Billeter, J.C., Miyamoto, T.,  Amrein, H., Levine, J.D. and Anderson, D.J. 2011. Hierarchical chemosensory regulation of male-male social interactions in Drosophila. Nature Neuroscience 14 (6), 757-762.

Fujii, S. and Amrein, H. 2010. Ventral lateral and DN1 clock neurons mediate distinct properties of male sex drive rhythm in Drosophila. P.N.A.S. 107 (21), 10590-105959.

Thorne, N. and Amrein, H. 2008. Atypical expression of Drosophila gustatory receptor genes in sensory and central neurons. J Comp Neurol 506: 548-568.

Miyamoto, T. and Amrein, H. 2008. Suppression of male courtship by a Drosophila pheromone receptor. Nat Neurosci 11: 874-876.

Fujii, S., Toyama, A., and Amrein, H. 2008. A male-specific fatty acid omega-hydroxylase, SXE1, is necessary for efficient male mating in Drosophila melanogaster. Genetics 180: 179-190.

Slone, J., Daniels, J., and Amrein, H. 2007. Sugar receptors in Drosophila. Curr Biol 17: 1809-1816.

Fujii, S., Krishnan, P., Hardin, P., and Amrein, H. 2007. Nocturnal male sex drive in Drosophila. Curr Biol 17: 244-251.

Wolf, M.J., Amrein, H., Izatt, J.A., Choma, M.A., Reedy, M.C., and Rockman, H.A. 2006. Drosophila as a model for the identification of genes causing adult human heart disease. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 103: 1394-1399.

Amrein, H. and Thorne, N. 2005. Gustatory perception and behavior in Drosophila melanogaster. Curr Biol 15: R673-684.

Thorne, N., Chromey, C., Bray, S., and Amrein, H. 2004. Taste perception and coding in Drosophila. Curr Biol 14: 1065-1079.

Larsson, M.C., Domingos, A.I., Jones, W.D., Chiappe, M.E., Amrein, H., and Vosshall, L.B. 2004. Or83b encodes a broadly expressed odorant receptor essential for Drosophila olfaction. Neuron 43: 703-714.

Amrein, H. 2004. Pheromone perception and behavior in Drosophila. Curr Opin Neurobiol 14: 435-442.

Bray, S. and Amrein, H. 2003. A putative Drosophila pheromone receptor expressed in male-specific taste neurons is required for efficient courtship. Neuron 39: 1019-1029.

Current Genetics Students:

Ahmet Yavuz

Research Interests:

Bioinformatics and Genomics:

Taste Perception, Chemosensory Neural Networks and Internal Nutrient Sensing

Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Genetics:

Taste Perception, Chemosensory Neural Networks and Internal Nutrient Sensing