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Protein Sci. 2005 Mar;14(3):703-10.

Test of the Binding Threshold Hypothesis for olfactory receptors: explanation of the differential binding of ketones to the mouse and human orthologs of olfactory receptor 912-93.

Author information

1
Materials and Process Simulation Center (MC 139-74), California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.

Abstract

We tested the Binding Threshold Hypothesis (BTH) for activation of olfactory receptors (ORs): To activate an OR, the odorant must bind to the OR with binding energy above some threshold value. The olfactory receptor (OR) 912-93 is known experimentally to be activated by ketones in mouse, but is inactive to ketones in human, despite an amino acid sequence identity of approximately 66%. To investigate the origins of this difference, we used the MembStruk first-principles method to predict the tertiary structure of the mouse OR 912-93 (mOR912-93), and the HierDock first-principles method to predict the binding site for ketones to this receptor. We found that the strong binding of ketones to mOR912-93 is dominated by a hydrogen bond of the ketone carbonyl group to Ser105. All ketones predicted to have a binding energy stronger than EBindThresh = 26 kcal/mol were observed experimentally to activate this OR, while the two ketones predicted to bind more weakly do not. In addition, we predict that 2-undecanone and 2-dodecanone both bind sufficiently strongly to activate mOR912-93. A similar binding site for ketones was predicted in hOR912-93, but the binding is much weaker because the human ortholog has a Gly at the position of Ser105. We predict that mutating this Gly to Ser in human should lead to activation of hOR912-93 by these ketones. Experimental substantiations of the above predictions would provide further tests of the validity of the BTH, our predicted 3D structures, and our predicted binding sites for these ORs.

PMID:
15722446
PMCID:
PMC2279295
DOI:
10.1110/ps.041119705
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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