Structure-function relationships of olfactory and taste receptors

Maik Behrens, Loïc Briand, Claire A. de March, Hiroaki Matsunami, Atsuko Yamashita, Wolfgang Meyerhof, Simone Weyand

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


The field of chemical senses has made major progress in understanding the cellular mechanisms of olfaction and taste in the past 2 decades. However, the molecular understanding of odor and taste recognition is still lagging far behind and will require solving multiple structures of the relevant full-length receptors in complex with native ligands to achieve this goal. However, the development of multiple complimentary strategies for the structure determination of G proteincoupled receptors (GPCRs) makes this goal realistic. The common conundrum of how multispecific receptors that recognize a large number of different ligands results in a sensory perception in the brain will only be fully understood by a combination of high-resolution receptor structures and functional studies. This review discusses the first steps on this pathway, including biochemical and physiological assays, forward genetics approaches, molecular modeling, and the first steps towards the structural biology of olfactory and taste receptors.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberbjx083
Pages (from-to)81-87
Number of pages7
JournalChemical Senses
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2 2018


  • Biochemistry
  • Functional assays
  • Molecular modeling
  • Olfaction
  • Structural biology
  • Taste

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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