Isolation of an olfactory cDNA: similarity to retinol-binding protein suggests a role in olfaction

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Science  27 Feb 1987:
Vol. 235, Issue 4792, pp. 1053-1056
DOI: 10.1126/science.3493528


Molecular cloning techniques were used to isolate and characterize a protein possibly involved in the signal transducing system in olfactory tissue of the frog Rana pipiens. A complementary DNA library was constructed with messenger RNA obtained from frog olfactory neuroepithelium. A 700-base pair complementary DNA clone encoding a protein with a molecular weight of 20,300 was identified by differential hybridization analysis with polyadenylated RNA from olfactory epithelium and nonsensory respiratory epithelium. The messenger RNA corresponding to this clone was abundant in the cells of Bowman's glands in olfactory tissue but not in respiratory epithelium nor in several other tissues. The predicted sequence of this protein is homologous to members of a family of proteins that bind and transport small molecules in serum, suggesting that this protein may also bind and transport odorants in the mucus secreted by Bowman's glands.