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Chem Senses. 2008 Feb;33(2):145-62. Epub 2007 Nov 20.

Proteomic analysis of a membrane preparation from rat olfactory sensory cilia.

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Department of Molecular Physiology, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 230, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.


The cilia of mammalian olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) represent the sensory interface that is exposed to the air within the nasal cavity. The cilia are the site where odorants bind to specific receptors and initiate olfactory transduction that leads to excitation of the neuron. This process involves a multitude of ciliary proteins that mediate chemoelectrical transduction, amplification, and adaptation of the primary sensory signal. Many of these proteins were initially identified by their enzymatic activities using a membrane protein preparation from olfactory cilia. This so-called "calcium-shock" preparation is a versatile tool for the exploration of protein expression, enzyme kinetics, regulatory mechanisms, and ciliary development. To support such studies, we present a first proteomic analysis of this membrane preparation. We subjected the cilia preparation to liquid chromatography-electrospray ionisation (LC-ESI-MS/MS) tandem mass spectrometry and identified 268 proteins, of which 49% are membrane proteins. A detailed analysis of their cellular and subcellular localization showed that the cilia preparation obtained by calcium shock not only is highly enriched in ORN proteins but also contains a significant amount of nonciliary material. Although our proteomic study does not identify the entire set of ciliary and nonciliary proteins, it provides the first estimate of the purity of the calcium-shock preparation and provides valuable biochemical information for further research.

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