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J Neurochem. 2009 Jun;109(6):1570-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2009.06085.x. Epub 2009 Apr 4.

Olfactory receptors: G protein-coupled receptors and beyond.

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  • 1Department of Chemosensation, Institute for Biology II, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany.

Abstract

Sensing the chemical environment is critical for all organisms. Diverse animals from insects to mammals utilize highly organized olfactory system to detect, encode, and process chemostimuli that may carry important information critical for health, survival, social interactions and reproduction. Therefore, for animals to properly interpret and react to their environment it is imperative that the olfactory system recognizes chemical stimuli with appropriate selectivity and sensitivity. Because olfactory receptor proteins play such an essential role in the specific recognition of diverse stimuli, understanding how they interact with and transduce their cognate ligands is a high priority. In the nearly two decades since the discovery that the mammalian odorant receptor gene family constitutes the largest group of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) genes, much attention has been focused on the roles of GPCRs in vertebrate and invertebrate olfaction. However, is has become clear that the 'family' of olfactory receptors is highly diverse, with roles for enzymes and ligand-gated ion channels as well as GPCRs in the primary detection of olfactory stimuli.

PMID:
19383089
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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