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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Morituri te salutant? Olfactory signal transduction and the role of phosphoinositides.

During the past 150 years, researchers have investigated the cellular, physiological, and molecular mechanisms underlying the sense of smell. Based on these efforts, a conclusive model of olfactory signal transduction in the vertebrate's nose is now available, spanning from G-protein-mediated odorant receptors to ion channels, which are linked by a cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate-mediated signal transduction cascade. Here we review some historical milestones in the chronology of olfactory research, particularly emphasising the role of cyclic nucleotides and inositol trisphosphate as alternative second messengers in olfactory cells. We will describe the functional anatomy of the nose, outline the cellular composition of the olfactory epithelium, and describe the discovery of the molecular backbone of the olfactory signal transduction cascade. We then summarize our current model, in which cyclic adenosine monophosphate is the sole excitatory second messenger in olfactory sensory neurons. Finally, a possible significance of microvillous olfactory epithelial cells and inositol trisphosphate in olfaction will be discussed.[1]


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