Odor-induced membrane currents in vertebrate-olfactory receptor neurons

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Science  07 Apr 1989:
Vol. 244, Issue 4900, pp. 79-82
DOI: 10.1126/science.2704991


In olfactory receptor neurons, odor molecules cause a depolarization that leads to action potential generation. Underlying the depolarization is an ionic current that is the earliest electrical event in the transduction process. In two preparations, olfactory receptor neurons were voltage-clamped and stimulated with odors and this generator current was measured. In addition, a method was developed to estimate the time course and absolute concentration of odorants delivered to the receptor sites. With this method, olfactory neurons were found to have relatively high stimulus thresholds, steep dose-response relations, long latencies, and an apparent requirement for cooperativity at one or more steps in the pathway from odorant binding to activation of the generator current.

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