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The location of olfactory receptors within olfactory epithelium is independent of odorant volatility and solubility

DOI: 10.1186/1756-0500-4-137

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Odorants detected by ORs from the dorsal and ventral regions showed overlap in volatility and water solubility. We did not find evidence for a correlation between the solubility and volatility of odorants and the functional expression of olfactory receptors in the dorsal or ventral region of the olfactory epithelia.No simple clustering or relationship between chemical properties of odorants could be associated with the different regions of the olfactory epithelium. These results suggest that the location of ORs within the epithelium is not organized based on the physico-chemical properties of their ligands.The molecular events that lead to olfactory perception can be divided into peripheral (detection by olfactory receptors (ORs) in the nasal epithelium) and central (olfactory bulb and cortex). The events that occur at the peripheral level are not only represented by odorant-receptor affinity, but also include the physico-chemical characteristics of odorants, their diffusion through the mucus, air flow dynamics, as well as the spatial distribution of olfactory receptors within the olfactory epithelium [1-3]. The main olfactory system has a diverse population of receptors (for review see [4]). Most of these receptors remain orphans with no known ligand. Thus, the functional organization of the peripheral olfactory system remains theoretical, particularly in mammals.Odorant discrimination is mediated by ORs using combinatorial coding: a single OR can be activated by multiple odorants and most odorants activate more than one OR [5,6]. Odorants represent a vast array of different chemical structures and each receptor samples a specific region of "chemical space" meaning that it is activated by one or a few combinations of chemical features [7]. A small change in the odorant molecule can result in a fundamental change of its molecular properties (such as functional group, length, flexibility, hydrophobicity, volatility, polarity, chemical bonds) and consequently may chan


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