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Annu Rev Physiol. 2002;64:189-222.

G proteins and olfactory signal transduction.

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  • 1Departments of Neuroscience and Neurology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.


The olfactory system sits at the interface of the environment and the nervous system and is responsible for correctly coding sensory information from thousands of odorous stimuli. Many theories existed regarding the signal transduction mechanism that mediates this difficult task. The discovery that odorant transduction utilizes a unique variation (a novel family of G protein-coupled receptors) based upon a very common theme (the G protein-coupled adenylyl cyclase cascade) to accomplish its vital task emphasized the power and versatility of this motif. We now must understand the downstream consequences of this cascade that regulates multiple second messengers and perhaps even gene transcription in response to the initial interaction of ligand with G protein-coupled receptor.

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