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Comparative chemosensation from receptors to ecology

Abstract

Odour perception is initiated by specific interactions between odorants and a large repertoire of receptors in olfactory neurons. During the past few years, considerable progress has been made in tracing olfactory perception from the odorant receptor protein to the activity of olfactory neurons to higher processing centres and, ultimately, to behaviour. The most complete picture is emerging for the simplest olfactory system studied — that of the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster. Comparison of rodent, insect and nematode olfaction reveals surprising differences and unexpected similarities among chemosensory systems.

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Figure 1: Olfactory receptor diversity.
Figure 2: Different receptor expression strategies in different animals.
Figure 3: Transition from the first to the second stage of olfactory processing.
Figure 4: Odorant sensitivity of olfactory sensory neurons and projection neurons.

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Acknowledgements

R. Wilson and L. Vosshall greatly improved this piece by their comments and corrections. C.I.B. is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute; the laboratory's work on olfaction is funded by the NIDCD.

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Bargmann, C. Comparative chemosensation from receptors to ecology. Nature 444, 295–301 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature05402

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