Pharmacology of Mammalian Olfactory Receptors
Mammalian species have evolved a large and diverse number of odorant receptors (ORs). These proteins comprise the largest family of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) known, amounting to ∼1,000 different receptors in the rodent. From the perspective of olfactory coding, the availability of such a vast number of chemosensory receptors poses several fascinating questions; in addition, such a large repertoire provides an attractive biological model to study ligand–receptor interactions. The limited functional expression of these receptors in heterologous systems, however, has greatly hampered attempts to deorphanize them. We have employed a successful approach that combines electrophysiological and imaging techniques to analyze the response profiles of single sensory neurons. Our approach has enabled us to characterize the “odor space” of a population of native aldehyde receptors and the molecular range of a genetically engineered receptor, OR-I7.
Key wordsOlfactory receptors Aldehydes OR-I7 Sensory neurons Ca-imaging
The authors would like to thank Xinmin Zhang for his helpful input in developing and optimizing these procedures.
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