Molecular messengers of olfaction

Gabriele V. Ronnett, Solomon H. Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Our knowledge of olfactory signal transduction has been greatly clarified by several recent advances. Molecular cloning has revealed a large family of putative odorant receptors localized to olfactory epithelium that display a seven-transmembrane-domain motif suggesting an association with G proteins. Very potent and rapid enhancement of both adenylyl cyclase and phosphoinositide turnover has been demonstrated in response to odorants both in isolated olfactory cilia and primary olfactory receptor neuronal cultures. Ca2+-calmodulin-dependent phosphodiesterase has been localized to olfactory cilia. A key role for Ca2+ is evident from many investigations. More recently, odorants have also been shown to affect the levels of cGMP in olfactory receptor neurons. The involvement of multiple second messengers may provide mechanisms for both fine-tuning and desensitization of olfaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)508-513
Number of pages6
JournalTrends in neurosciences
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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