What is so special about smell? Olfaction as a model system in neurobiology

  title={What is so special about smell? Olfaction as a model system in neurobiology},
  author={Ann-Sophie Barwich},
  journal={Postgraduate Medical Journal},
  pages={27 - 33}
  • A. Barwich
  • Published 3 November 2015
  • Biology, Medicine
  • Postgraduate Medical Journal
Neurobiology studies mechanisms of cell signalling. A key question is how cells recognise specific signals. In this context, olfaction has become an important experimental system over the past 25 years. The olfactory system responds to an array of structurally diverse stimuli. The discovery of the olfactory receptors (ORs), recognising these stimuli, established the olfactory pathway as part of a greater group of signalling mechanisms mediated by G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). GPCRs are… 
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The role of metals in the detection of low molecular weight thiols, sulfides, and other organosulfur compounds, including those found in strong-smelling animal excretions and plant volatiles, and those used in gas odorization is emphasized.
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It is likely that chemical cues are important in the authors' behaviour and that humans may have pheromones, but new approaches will be needed to reliably demonstrate them, according to the Theo Murphy meeting issue ‘Olfactory communication in humans’.
Fishing for Genes: How the Largest Gene Family in the Mammalian Genome was Found (and Why Idiosyncrasy in Exploration Matters)
Abstract In 1991, Linda Buck and Richard Axel identified the multigene family expressing odor receptors. Their discovery transformed research on olfaction overnight, and Buck and Axel were awarded
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    Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
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This review looks at four areas of ‘quantum effects in biology’: biosystems that are very diverse in detail but possess some commonality: rates of a signal that can be calculated from a form of the ‘golden rule’, and protein–pigment (or ligand) complex systems, which may contain some degree of quantumeffect.
Status of the Vibrational Theory of Olfaction
The vibrational theory of olfaction is an attempt to describe a possible mechanism for olfaction which is explanatory and provides researchers with a set of principles which permit predictions
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The present iteration of the vibrational theory of protein activation is tested by comparing predictions obtained from Turin’s vibratory theory for the activation of olfactory receptors measuring affinity and activation at a nonolfactory receptor family of G protein-coupled receptors.
Up the nose of the beholder? Aesthetic perception in olfaction as a decision-making process
Abstract Is the sense of smell a source of aesthetic perception? Traditional philosophical aesthetics has centered on vision and audition but eliminated smell for its subjective and inherently
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Scientific models and fiction have one noticeable feature in common. Their representational relation to the physical world is ambiguous. It is often not obvious whether certain elements in a model
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  • Medicine
    Studies in history and philosophy of science
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It is argued that normative appeals to empirical success in the evaluation of competing scientific explanations can result in unreliable conclusions, especially when the authors are looking at the changeability of direction in unsettled investigations.


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