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Mol Cells. 2017 Dec 31;40(12):954-965. doi: 10.14348/molcells.2017.0223. Epub 2017 Nov 23.

Odorant Receptors Containing Conserved Amino Acid Sequences in Transmembrane Domain 7 Display Distinct Expression Patterns in Mammalian Tissues.

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Department of Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Graduate school, Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science & Technology (DGIST), Daegu 42988, Korea.
Convergence Research Advanced Centre for Olfaction, Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science & Technology (DGIST), Daegu 42988, Korea.
Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, The Catholic University of Korea, College of Medicine, Seoul 06591, Korea.
Departments of Neuroscience and Neurology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD21205, USA.


Mammalian genomes are well established, and highly conserved regions within odorant receptors that are unique from other G-protein coupled receptors have been identified. Numerous functional studies have focused on specific conserved amino acids motifs; however, not all conserved motifs have been sufficiently characterized. Here, we identified a highly conserved 18 amino acid sequence motif within transmembrane domain seven (CAS-TM7) which was identified by aligning odorant receptor sequences. Next, we investigated the expression pattern and distribution of this conserved amino acid motif among a broad range of odorant receptors. To examine the localization of odorant receptor proteins, we used a sequence-specific peptide antibody against CAS-TM7 which is specific to odorant receptors across species. The specificity of this peptide antibody in recognizing odorant receptors has been confirmed in a heterologous in vitro system and a rat-based in vivo system. The CAS-TM7 odorant receptors localized with distinct patterns at each region of the olfactory epithelium; septum, endoturbinate and ectoturbinate. To our great interests, we found that the CAS-TM7 odorant receptors are primarily localized to the dorsal region of the olfactory bulb, coinciding with olfactory epithelium-based patterns. Also, these odorant receptors were ectopically expressed in the various non-olfactory tissues in an evolutionary constrained manner between human and rats. This study has characterized the expression patterns of odorant receptors containing particular amino acid motif in transmembrane domain 7, and which led to an intriguing possibility that the conserved motif of odorant receptors can play critical roles in other physiological functions as well as olfaction.


GPCR; conserved; odorant receptor; olfaction; transmembrane

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