Navigation Links
Pitt Research Yields Insight into the Mystery of Smell
Date:5/9/2016

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have uncovered the mechanism underlying a phenomenon in how we smell that has puzzled researchers for decades. In an article appearing online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team reports that, surprisingly, the mechanism follows a simple physics principle called cooperativity.

Inhalation of a scent sends a complex mixture of odor molecules swirling toward the back of the nose, where they bind to specialized receptors that are located on millions of olfactory neurons. Activation of these receptors sends signals from the olfactory neurons to the brain, where the smell is deciphered.

Individual neurons have only a single type of receptor and, therefore, recognize only specific odor molecules. However, the hundreds of different types of olfactory receptors are found, or expressed, in approximately equal numbers across the entire population of neurons, which allows a person to detect a wide variety of smells, explained senior investigator Jianhua Xing, Ph.D., associate professor of computational and systems biology, Pitt School of Medicine. Richard Axel, Columbia University, and Linda Buck, now at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, received the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering the receptors and making these observations.

“Over the past decades, neuroscientists have been trying to uncover how nature accomplishes these two goals: selecting one, and only one, type of olfactory receptor for each neuron, while at the same time ensuring that all receptor types are represented in the whole population of neurons,” said Dr. Xing.

The mysteries of how we smell have generated many experimental observations about how olfactory receptors actually work. In the new study, Dr. Xing and colleagues used these existing experimental data to create a computational model of how olfactory receptor expression can be both uniform across a single neuron, yet very diverse across the entire population of neurons. They then used this model to correctly predict several additional findings that have been demonstrated by other research groups, demonstrating that their model is valid.

Surprisingly, the model suggested a three-pronged regulation of olfactory receptor gene expression that follows a basic physics principle called cooperativity, in which elements in a system influence the behavior of one another rather than function independently. Cooperativity can explain many phenomena, such as the transition between liquid and vapor states, why oil and water do not mix, and even other biological processes such as how a protein folds.

“We are amazed that nature has solved the seemingly daunting engineering process of olfactory receptor expression in such a simple way,” said Dr. Xing.

The findings pave the way for new predictions about how olfactory receptors function that can be tested in future experiments, the results of which will help the team refine their model and make even more predictions.

The research team also included Xiao-Jun Tian, Ph.D., of Pitt; Jens Sannerud , former Pitt undergraduate summer research fellow, currently of Brown University; and Hang Zhang, Ph.D., of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

This research was funded by National Science Foundation awards DMS-1545771 and DMS-1462049.

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/05/prweb13399104.htm.


'/>"/>
Source: PRWeb
Copyright©2016 Vocus, Inc.
All rights reserved


Related medicine news :

1. The Lymphoma Research Foundation to Host Inaugural Swirl: A Wine Tasting Event in Chicago
2. Dr. Marcia Byrd Discusses Her Specialized Liposuction Treatment for Lipedema at the Fat Disorders Research Society’s Annual Conference
3. Reading Qualitative Educational Policy Research
4. SOCKIT Soccer Training Devices Donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
5. Quaker Ridge Golf Club Set to Host 2016 Lymphoma Research Foundation Annual Golf Invitational
6. Duke Clinical Research Institute and SAS Open Heart-Disease Data to Researchers
7. The Kerry Gaynor Method Looks to Reduce Soking Dependence During National Cancer Research Month
8. HRA - Healthcare Research & Analytics Executives Presenting at PBIRG 55th Annual General Meeting
9. EMED Enters into an Agreement with Northern Caribbean University for Medical Cannabis Research in Jamaica
10. Making Good Use of Policy Research
11. Colorado Orthopaedic Surgeon Robert LaPrade, MD, PhD Visits Capitol Hill to Raise Awareness of the Critical Need for Musculoskeletal Research Funding
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:8/31/2020)... ... August 31, 2020 , ... Smile ... dental groups in the United States, today announced the grand opening of another ... , Patients will enjoy convenient hours, a comfortable office, and full-service care ...
(Date:8/31/2020)... Calif. (PRWEB) , ... August 31, 2020 , ... ... leadership experience working, both directly with persons with autism and other developmental disabilities, ... expertise includes early intervention, parent education, adolescents with autism, school consultation, and staff ...
(Date:8/28/2020)... ... 28, 2020 , ... WHAT , Hespiro™ is a new ... conditions, including COVID-19, while reducing the need for scarce mechanical ventilators. It not ... and scrubs it free of carbon dioxide in a completely closed “rebreather” system, ...
(Date:8/28/2020)... ... August 28, 2020 , ... Ziegler, a specialty investment ... investment in Synchronous Health, a tech-enabled behavioral health and well-being solutions provider. ... empathy with artificial intelligence (AI) to increase access and quality of behavioral health ...
(Date:8/27/2020)... ... August 27, 2020 , ... Evolution Labs announced ... provide their students with Suite360:Mental Health and Prevention, a program developed to help ... Child Trafficking Prevention. , Florida schools and districts must provide their students with ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:8/28/2020)... ... August 28, 2020 , ... Dr. ... bringing a unique perspective and approach. Armed with her qualifications from Ross University ... share her knowledge of the human body with the nation and world. With ...
(Date:8/27/2020)... (PRWEB) , ... August 27, 2020 , ... The flu season is right round the ... get well equipped with all the necessary measures before it begins to harbor its effects ... increasing, and it is leaving a huge impact on our lives. Hence it has become ...
(Date:8/27/2020)... ... August 27, 2020 , ... Bridge To A Cure Foundation ... is an adult and pediatric neuro-oncologist who serves on the Board of Directors at ... at Duke University Medical School. , Internationally recognized, Dr. Friedman is a widely published ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: