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Arch Ital Biol. 1999 May;137(2-3):193-200.

Pheromone signalling in the mouse: role of urinary proteins and vomeronasal organ.

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  • 1Istituto di Fisiologia Umana, Universit√† di Padova, Italy. andreac@ux1.unipd.it


The lipocalin protein family is characterized in structure by a conserved hydrophobic pocket which can bind small volatile odorants. The Major Urinary Proteins (MUPs) are a class of lipocalins found in the urine of adult male mice which concentrate in the urine odorants which confer a characteristic odor. The behavioural as well as the endocrine effects of mouse urine and MUPs are briefly reviewed, suggesting a complex role is pheromonal communication. Some recent data on the molecular receptors of the vomeronasal organ further suggest a complex interaction with the MUP system.

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