, Volume 104, Issue 3, pp 235-240

Origin, functions and chemistry of H‐2 regulated odorants

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Abstract

Genes located within the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) of mice are responsible for individual differences in body odor (odortypes). In this review we suggest that the MHC genes themselves are responsible for odor differences among MHC‐congenic mice. Recent studies indicating that volatile carboxylic acids are at least in part responsible for the individual odors and what this finding implies about the pathway from gene to odorant are also reviewed. We suggest that odorants or their precursors are bound directly by MHC products and are released into serum and concentrated in urine. Finally, possible functions of MHC odortypes in mice are enumerated and important future research questions are raised.

This revised version was published online in July 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.