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Science. 1994 Jul 1;265(5168):118-20.

Suppression of odorant responses by odorants in olfactory receptor cells.

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  • 1Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia, PA 19104.


Odorants activate an inward current in vertebrate olfactory receptor cells. Here it is shown, in receptor cells from the newt, that odorants can also suppress this current, by a mechanism that is distinct from inhibition and adaptation. Suppression provides a simple explanation for two seemingly unrelated phenomena: the anomalously long latency of olfactory transduction and the existence of an "off response" at the end of a prolonged stimulus. Suppression may influence the perception of odorants by masking odorant responses and by sharpening the odorant specificities of single cells.

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