Functional analysis of a mammalian odorant receptor subfamily

Tatjana Abaffy, Hiroaki Matsunami, Charles W. Luetje

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Phylogenetic analysis groups mammalian odorant receptors into two broad classes and numerous subfamilies. These subfamilies are proposed to reflect functional organization. Testing this idea requires an assay allowing detailed functional characterization of odorant receptors. Here we show that a variety of Class I and Class II mouse odorant receptors can be functionally expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes. Receptor constructs included the N-terminal 20 residues of human rhodopsin and were co-expressed with Gαolf and the cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator to allow electrophysiological measurement of receptor responses. For most mouse odorant receptors tested, these conditions were sufficient for functional expression. Co-expression of accessory proteins was required to allow functional surface expression of some mouse odorant receptors. We used this assay to examine the receptive ranges of all members of the mouse odorant receptor 42 (MOR42) subfamily. MOR42-1 responded to dicarboxylic acids, preferring a 10-12 carbon chain length. MOR42-2 responded to monocarboxylic acids (7-10 carbons). MOR42-3 responded to dicarboxylic acids (8-10 carbons) and monocarboxylic acids (10-12 carbons). Thus, the receptive range of each receptor was unique. However, overlap between the individual receptive ranges suggests that the members of this subfamily form one contiguous subfamily receptive range, suggesting that odorant receptor subfamilies do constitute functional units.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1506-1518
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of neurochemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Electrophysiology
  • Olfactory receptors
  • Xenopus oocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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