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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Sep 13, 1994; 91(19): 8890–8894.

Heteromeric olfactory cyclic nucleotide-gated channels: a subunit that confers increased sensitivity to cAMP.


Olfactory receptor neurons respond to odorant stimulation with a rapid increase in intracellular cAMP that opens cyclic nucleotide-gated (cng) cation channels. cng channels in rat olfactory neurons are activated by cAMP in the low micromolar range and are outwardly rectifying. The cloned rat olfactory cng channel (rOCNC1), however, is much less sensitive to cAMP and exhibits very weak rectification. Here we describe the cloning and characterization of a second rat cng channel subunit, denoted rOCNC2. rOCNC2 does not form functional channels when expressed alone. When rOCNC1 and rOCNC2 are coexpressed, however, an outwardly rectifying cation conductance with cAMP sensitivity near that of the native channel is observed. In situ hybridization with probes specific for the two subunits shows that they are coexpressed in olfactory receptor neurons. These data indicate that the native olfactory cng channel is likely to be a heterooligomer of the rOCNC1 and rOCNC2 subunits.

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