Identification of ligands for olfactory receptors by functional expression of a receptor library

Dietmar Krautwurst, King Wai Yau, Randall R. Reed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

477 Scopus citations


The recognition of odorants by olfactory receptors represents the first stage in odor discrimination. Here, we report the generation of an expression library containing a large and diverse repertoire of mouse olfactory receptor sequences in the transmembrane II-VII region. From this library, 80 chimeric receptors were tested against 26 odorants after transfection into HEK-293 cells. Three receptors were identified to respond to micromolecular concentrations of carvone, (-) citronellal, and limonene, respectively. We also found that the mouse 17 receptor, unlike the rat 17 receptor, prefers heptanal instead of octanal, as a result of a single valine-to-isoleucine substitution. This finding represents the beginning of a molecular understanding of odorant recognition. The identification, on a large scale, of cognate receptor-odorant interactions should provide insight into olfactory coding mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)917-926
Number of pages10
Issue number7
StatePublished - Dec 23 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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