Trafficking of mammalian chemosensory receptors by receptor-transporting proteins.
Although mammalian odorant receptors (ORs) were identified more than 15 years ago, we still do not understand how odorant molecules interact with ORs at a molecular level. Previous studies of mammalian ORs have tested few ORs against many odorants. Some fundamental properties of the olfactory system, however, require investigation of a wide panel of diverse ORs with many chemically diverse odorants. Previously, we identified OR accessory proteins, receptor-transporting protein (RTP) 1 and RTP2. They are expressed specifically in olfactory neurons, are associated with OR proteins, and facilitate the OR trafficking to the plasma membrane when coexpressed in mammalian cell lines. With this approach, high-throughput screening using a large repertoire of mammalian ORs is now possible. The activation profiles can be used to develop a predictive model relating physicochemical odorant properties, receptor sequences, and their interactions, enabling us to predict a tested receptor's response to a novel odorant and a novel receptor's response to a tested odorant. Doing so will provide a basis for understanding how structurally diverse odorant molecules activate the mammalian OR repertoire. Similarly, two families of vomeronasal receptors, V1Rs and V2Rs, are also notoriously difficult to functionally express in heterologous cells. However, coexpression of the RTP family members with V1Rs or V2Rs does not seem to facilitate trafficking of the receptor proteins. This finding suggests that the vomeronasal organ has a unique biosynthetic pathway for membrane proteins.
Matsunami, H; Mainland, JD; Dey, S
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