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J Biol Chem. 2009 Jun 12;284(24):16218-25. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M109.012096. Epub 2009 Apr 23.

Activation of an olfactory receptor inhibits proliferation of prostate cancer cells.

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  • 1Department of Cell Physiology, Ruhr-University Bochum, 44780 Bochum, Germany.


Olfactory receptors (ORs) are expressed not only in the sensory neurons of the olfactory epithelium, where they detect volatile substances, but also in various other tissues where their potential functions are largely unknown. Here, we report the physiological characterization of human OR51E2, also named prostate-specific G-protein-coupled receptor (PSGR) due to its reported up-regulation in prostate cancer. We identified androstenone derivatives as ligands for the recombinant receptor. PSGR can also be activated with the odorant beta-ionone. Activation of the endogenous receptor in prostate cancer cells by the identified ligands evoked an intracellular Ca2+ increase. Exposure to beta-ionone resulted in the activation of members of the MAPK family and inhibition of cell proliferation. Our data give support to the hypothesis that because PSGR signaling could reduce growth of prostate cancer cells, specific receptor ligands might therefore be potential candidates for prostate cancer treatment.

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