Olfactory reception occurs via the interaction of odorants with the chemosensory cilia of the olfactory receptor cells located in the nasal epithelium. The cDNA clones from mRNA specific to olfactory mucosa were studied. One of these clones, OBPπ, encodes a secretory protein with significant homology to odorant-binding protein (OBP), a protein with broad odorant-binding ability, and is expressed in the lateral nasal gland, which is the site of expression of OBP. The OBPπ sequence also shows significant homology to the VEG protein, which is thought to be involved in taste transduction. OBPII is a new member of the lipophilic molecule carrier protein family. The second cDNA clone encodes a novel homologue of glutathione peroxidase, an enzyme involved in cellular biotransformation pathways. Its expression appears to be localized to the Bowman’s glands, the site of several previously identified olfactory-specific biotransformation enzymes.
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