Encyclopedia of Signaling Molecules

2018 Edition
| Editors: Sangdun Choi

Olfactory Receptors

  • Lisa StowersEmail author
  • Sandeepa Dey
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-67199-4_120


Historical Background

Among the five senses, smell is unique in that it is dedicated to discriminating an enormous diversity of stimulating ligands. Olfactory sensory neurons achieve this detection by the expression of a multigene family of seven-transmembrane G protein–coupled receptors (GPCRs) originally identified by Linda Buck and Richard Axel (1991). These receptors, termed olfactory receptors (OR, plural ORs), are expressed in the olfactory tissue of all terrestrial vertebrates examined thus far, and have been shown to respond directly to odorant binding. The identification and subsequent study of ORs has provided great insight into the molecular and neuronal organization of the olfactory system. Indeed, in 2004, Buck and Axel were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology for their pioneering work in odorant receptor discovery. Most of the current understanding of ORs results from experiments from the mouse model which is the focus...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cell BiologyThe Scripps Research InstituteLa JollaUSA