Section3-2-1 - Olfactory Transduction Transduction process...

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3/13/12 1 Olfactory Transduction • Very sensitive (one molecule can cause depolarization, a few will cause an action potential) • Probably 350-1000 different types of odorant receptors! Transduction process : • Odorant receptors are g-protein coupled receptors • Respond to several different molecules (similar structure) • Lock and key model of activation Genetic basis of olfactory receptors: Buck and Axel showed that genome contains about 1000 different olfactory receptor genes; each codes for a single type of OR All mammals have pretty much the same set of 1000 genes. So why differences in olfactory abilities? Some genes are non-functional pseudogenes Dogs and mice: About 20% are pseudogenes Humans: Between 60% and 70% are pseudogenes » Each person has a different number of pseudogenes, resulting in individual differences in sensitivity to smells Gerstein & Zheng, 2006 Cilia from different olfactory sensory neurons Each Olfactory sensory neuron has one particular odorant receptor protein in membrane Each odorant receptor detects a portion of odorant molecule Odorant receptor Odorant molecule Each odorant molecule will activate several odorant receptors Shape-Pattern Theory
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