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J Hered. 2007;98(5):500-5. Epub 2007 Jul 28.

Functional analysis of a subset of canine olfactory receptor genes.

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Laboratory of Genetic and Development, CNRS UMR 6061, Institut de Génétique et Développement de Rennes, Faculté de Médecine, Rennes, F-35043 France.


In this paper, we explored the level complexity of the combinatorial olfactory code that allows mammals with a repertoire of about thousand putatively active olfactory receptors encoded in their genomes to recognize and identify a much larger repertoire of odorant molecules. To that end, we cloned 38 canine OR genes belonging to the same OR gene family and transiently expressed them in a subclone of embryonic human kidney cells (HEK293) permanently expressing the G(olf) subunit. Using a Ca(2+) imaging approach, we established for example that as many as 26 out of the 38 cloned OR elicited a Ca(2+) response when exposed to octanal, whereas 10 responded to nonanal, other aldehydes providing intermediate responses. Altogether, these results demonstrated that the combinatorial code is quite complex in support to the highly developed sense of olfaction demonstrated by dogs.

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