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Kevin Ryan (CUNY City College) on how we smell ... molecules

posted Dec 4, 2015, 7:28 AM by Emilio Gallicchio
Professor Kevin Ryan speaks today (12/4/2015) at Brooklyn College about the molecular recognition abilities of protein receptors in our nose to give us the sense of smell. Please join us.

Department of Chemistry Seminar

Friday, December 4th, 2015

2:30pm, Room 432NE


     Kevin Ryan

City College of CUNY

Molecular Recognition of Small Molecules by the Mammalian Odorant Receptors

In the nose, a small and highly specialized part of the nervous system known as the nasal epithelium is exposed directly to environmental air. Airborne molecules partition into the mucus covering the nasal epithelium, where they encounter a dense array of sensory neurons, each displaying on their membrane a single type of odorant receptor and each wired to the brain via the olfactory bulb. The odorant receptors comprise the largest subfamily of the G-Protein Coupled Receptor family, or GPCRs. Despite recent progress in the structural biology of GPCRs, no odorant receptor structures have been solved, and the molecular recognition strategies by which odorant receptors bind and distinguish between odorants remain unknown. We are using odorant design and medicinal chemistry approaches, like structure-activity relationships (SAR), in an effort to gain information on how these receptors recognize small molecules to initiate the perception of an odor. Results will be presented from our investigations into three areas: conformational sensing of odorant carbon chains, pharmacologic antagonism and the sensing of odorant mixtures, and discrimination of the aldehyde functional group.