Signal Transduction

How a mouse's nose feels the cold

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Science  23 Jan 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6220, pp. 385
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6220.385-a

Guanylyl cyclase proteins in the mouse nose sense cold


Guanylyl cyclases (GC) are a family of transmembrane proteins that regulate physiological processes as diverse as blood pressure and our sense of smell. Neurons in the Grueneberg ganglion, a sensory organ in the mouse nose involved in detecting cold temperatures, express a subtype of GCs called GC-Gs, but scientists do not fully understand what activates these proteins. Chao et al. now show that cool temperatures can directly activate GC-Gs, probably by driving GC-G proteins to oligomerize (group together). Mouse pups exposed to cool temperatures normally make ultrasonic cries that encourage maternal care, but pups engineered to lack GC-G proteins could not.

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