Research ArticleNeuroscience

Odor Coding by a Mammalian Receptor Repertoire

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Sci. Signal.  03 Mar 2009:
Vol. 2, Issue 60, pp. ra9
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2000016

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Deciphering olfactory encoding requires a thorough description of the ligands that activate each odorant receptor (OR). In mammalian systems, however, ligands are known for fewer than 50 of more than 1400 human and mouse ORs, greatly limiting our understanding of olfactory coding. We performed high-throughput screening of 93 odorants against 464 ORs expressed in heterologous cells and identified agonists for 52 mouse and 10 human ORs. We used the resulting interaction profiles to develop a predictive model relating physicochemical odorant properties, OR sequences, and their interactions. Our results provide a basis for translating odorants into receptor neuron responses and for unraveling mammalian odor coding.

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