Published Online: 16 JUL 2007
Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. All rights reserved.
How to Cite
Giorgi, D., Gaillard, I. and Rouquier, S. 2007. Olfactory Receptors. eLS. .
- Published Online: 16 JUL 2007
The sense of smell is mediated by olfactory receptors belonging to the seven-transmembrane G-protein-coupled receptor superfamily. They are expressed at the surface of the cilia of olfactory sensory neurons that emerge in the olfactory epithelium of the nasal cavity, and for some of them in mature spermatozoa. The specific binding of odorant ligands initiates signals transmitted to the central nervous system through different relays, allowing an individual to identify precisely a particular odour. In mammals, olfactory receptors are encoded by a large multigene family of about 1000 members whose evolution of the number of functional genes is related to species-specific olfactory needs and to olfactory ability.
- sense of smell;
- multigene family;
- gene clusters;
- gene expression;
- tissue specificity