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Biochemistry. 2019 Apr 23;58(16):2160-2166. doi: 10.1021/acs.biochem.8b01208. Epub 2019 Apr 12.

Rapid Deorphanization of Human Olfactory Receptors in Yeast.

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School of Chemistry and Biochemistry , Georgia Institute of Technology , Atlanta , Georgia 30332 , United States.
School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering , Georgia Institute of Technology , Atlanta , Georgia 30332 , United States.


Olfactory receptors are ectopically expressed (exORs) in more than 16 different tissues. Studying the role of exORs is hindered by the lack of known ligands that activate these receptors. Of particular interest are exORs in the colon, the section of the gastrointestinal tract with the greatest diversity of microbiota where ORs may be participating in host-microbiome communication. Here, we leverage a G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR)-based yeast sensor strain to generate sensors for seven ORs highly expressed in the colon. We screen the seven colon ORs against 57 chemicals likely to bind ORs in olfactory tissue. We successfully deorphanize two colon exORs for the first time, OR2T4 and OR10S1, and find alternative ligands for OR2A7. The same OR deorphanization workflow can be applied to the deorphanization of other ORs and GPCRs in general. Identification of ligands for OR2T4, OR10S1, and OR2A7 will enable the study of these ORs in the colon. Additionally, the colon OR-based sensors will enable the elucidation of endogenous colon metabolites that activate these receptors. Finally, deorphanization of OR2T4 and OR10S1 supports studies of the neuroscience of olfaction.

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