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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Feb 10;106(6):2041-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0812220106. Epub 2009 Jan 30.

Guanylyl cyclase-D in the olfactory CO2 neurons is activated by bicarbonate.

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National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing 102206 China.


Atmospheric CO(2) is an important environmental cue that regulates several types of animal behavior. In mice, CO(2) responses of the olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) require the activity of carbonic anhydrase to catalyze the conversion of CO(2) to bicarbonate and the opening of cGMP-sensitive ion channels. However, it remains unknown how the enhancement of bicarbonate levels results in cGMP production. Here, we show that bicarbonate activates cGMP-producing ability of guanylyl cyclase-D (GC-D), a membrane GC exclusively expressed in the CO(2)-responsive OSNs, by directly acting on the intracellular cyclase domain of GC-D. Also, the molecular mechanism for GC-D activation is distinct from the commonly believed model of "release from repression" for other membrane GCs. Our results contribute to our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of CO(2) sensing and suggest diverse mechanisms of molecular activation among membrane GCs.

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