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BMB Reports  2012 

Olfactory receptors in non-chemosensory tissues

Keywords: Ectopic expression , Non-chemosensory tissues , Odorant , Olfactory receptor , Smell

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Olfactory receptors (ORs) detect volatile chemicals that lead tothe initial perception of smell in the brain. The olfactory receptor(OR) is the first protein that recognizes odorants in theolfactory signal pathway and it is present in over 1,000 genesin mice. It is also the largest member of the G protein-coupledreceptors (GPCRs). Most ORs are extensively expressed in thenasal olfactory epithelium where they perform the appropriatephysiological functions that fit their location. However, recentwhole-genome sequencing shows that ORs have been foundoutside of the olfactory system, suggesting that ORs may playan important role in the ectopic expression of non-chemosensorytissues. The ectopic expressions of ORs and their physiologicalfunctions have attracted more attention recently sinceMOR23 and testicular hOR17-4 have been found to be involvedin skeletal muscle development, regeneration, and humansperm chemotaxis, respectively. When identifying additionalexpression profiles and functions of ORs in non-olfactorytissues, there are limitations posed by the small number ofantibodies available for similar OR genes. This review presentsthe results of a research series that identifies ectopic expressionsand functions of ORs in non-chemosensory tissues toprovide insight into future research directions.


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