Navigation Links
A good nose: RUB-Researchers decipher interaction of fragrances and olfactory receptors
Date:12/13/2011

Banana, mango or apricot - telling these smells apart is no problem for the human nose. How the olfactory organ distinguishes such similar smells has been uncovered by an interdisciplinary team of researchers at the RUB. The scientists were the first to shed light on the dynamics of the three-dimensional structure of the binding site of an olfactory receptor. In so doing, they also found a characteristic pattern of hydrogen bonds between odorant and receptor, which accounts for the specificity of the olfactory sensors. Using computer simulations, the RUB team was able to predict whether odorant molecules activate a certain receptor or not. "A dream of science and industry is coming true" says smell expert Prof. Dr. Dr. Dr. Hanns Hatt (Department of Cell Physiology). The study was chosen as cover story of the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

Computer model and living cells

The human nose has about 350 different types of olfactory receptors, each specialising in one or a few smells. "The receptor is like a door lock which can only be opened by the right key" says Dr. Lian Gelis from the Department of Cell Physiology. How the lock is exactly constructed was previously unknown. To solve the puzzle, Dr. Steffen Wolf and Prof. Dr. Klaus Gerwert (Department of Biophysics) set out by creating a computer model of the human olfactory receptor for the smell of apricots. In the model, they mutated several components (amino acids) in the binding site of the protein and predicted whether these receptor variants bind apricot fragrance or not. Gelis und Hatt then verified these predictions using "Ca2+-imaging" on the receptors in the physiological system.

Tango of the molecules

In this way, the researchers showed how the binding site has to be structurally constituted so that the apricot fragrance activates the receptor. Using molecular dynamics simulations, they then analysed the two binding partners in greater depth. They found that, in the dynamic interplay of the interaction between receptor and odorant molecule, specific chemical bonds, called hydrogen bridges, form and separate. "It's like a tango, where the female dancer constantly separates from her partner and joins him again at another point" explains Gerwert. "The receptor uses the dynamic hydrogen bonding pattern to distinguish between activating and non-activating odours."

Predictions for other olfactory receptors

The researchers established how many molecular junctions the interaction partners have to form in order for a smell to activate an olfactory receptor. They also managed to specifically manipulate a receptor protein in the model and in the experiment so that it detected papaya fragrance instead of apricot fragrance. "The findings can help to generate specific 'super-olfactory sensors' for a defined fragrance" says Hatt. "Since olfactory receptors not only occur in the nose, but also in many other tissues in the human body, for example in the prostate, in sperm, and in the intestines, the results may help to develop novel therapeutic approaches". The work was carried out as part of the Collaborative Research Centre SFB 642. The Mercator Foundation supported Prof. Gerwert with a grant.


'/>"/>

Contact: Dr. Klaus Gerwert
gerwert@bph.ruhr-uni-bochum.de
49-234-322-4461
Ruhr-University Bochum
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Chasing Perfection in the Nose: Revision Rhinoplasty
2. Georgetown Research Center Helps Reporters Decipher Health Reform Law & Impact on State Residents
3. Studies Decipher How Anti-Smoking Drugs Work
4. Deciphering hidden code reveals brain activity
5. Human working memory is based on dynamic interaction networks in the brain
6. Interaction Associates to Sponsor HCI Talent Management for Health Care Conference
7. Clear rules facilitate continued Web interaction among general practitioners
8. Concentration, timing and interactions are key when it comes to dietary compounds
9. Scientists unravel human-ecosystem interactions
10. U. Iowa biologists publish findings on cell interactions
11. UM researchers are studying child-mother interactions to design robots with social skills
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... Loma Linda University Health (LLUH) ... hospital and expanded Children’s Hospital. Over 3,000 people looked on as the shovels hit ... the event photo slidehsow. , During the program, Richard H. Hart, MD, DrPH, ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) , ... May 24, ... ... devoted to everything egg freezing, today announced the official relaunch of its community ... to use their frozen eggs. Eggsurance's mission is to create a safe and ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... Orion, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... May 24, 2016 , ... ... Yoga. , The Yoga practice enhanced with Young Living Essential Oils, taught by ... - 8pm at the Lake Orion location. Yoga Flow is 6:30pm - 7:15pm followed ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... , ... In light of recent heavy flooding in Houston, Texas, Pelican Water ... throughout the Houston area. , Heavy floodwaters have led to destroyed waterways and flooded ... may not even be aware of the contamination of their water supply and thus, ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... California (PRWEB) , ... May 24, 2016 , ... "ProText ... times," said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProText Layouts Vol. ... within Final Cut Pro X . With ProText Layouts, video editors can create ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/24/2016)... 2016 Een app die artsen ... collectief patiënten kunnen behandelen, hun kennis kunnen delen en ... de nieuwe en revolutionaire MDLinking App, ontwikkeld door een ... dr. Hans Flu en oncologisch chirurg dr. Gijs ... is, wordt op dinsdag 24 mei officieel gepresenteerd op ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: DPLO) announced ... Internship programs. The hands-on learning experience is a 12-week ... paid Fellowship and Internship programs ... Fellows and interns are provided optional housing free of ... at the Riverfront Residence Hall to foster communication ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Clarifying Vision - ... Monitoring, and Vision Care What can be ... going to grow at the fastest rates? This ... assessing data, trends, opportunities and prospects. ... Discover the most lucrative areas in the industry and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: