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Published November 2004 | public
Journal Article

An Odorant Derivative as an Antagonist for an Olfactory Receptor


Different odorants are recognized by different combinations of G protein-coupled olfactory receptors, and thereby, odor identity is determined by a combinatorial receptor code for each odorant. We recently demonstrated that odorants appeared to compete for receptor sites to act as an agonist or an antagonist. Therefore, in natural circumstances where we always perceive a mixture of various odorants, olfactory receptor antagonism between odorants may result in a receptor code for the mixture that cannot be predicted from the codes for its individual components. Here we show that stored isoeugenol has an antagonistic effect on a mouse olfactory receptor, mOR-EG. However, freshly purified isoeugenol did not have an inhibitory effect. Instead, an isoeugenol derivative produced during storage turned out to be a potent competitive antagonist of mOR-EG. Structural analysis revealed that this derivative is an oxidatively dimerized isoeugenol that naturally occurs by oxidative reaction. The current study indicates that as odorants age, they decompose or react with other odorants, which in turn affects responsiveness of an olfactory receptor(s).

Additional Information

© 2004 Oxford University Press. Accepted September 27, 2004. We thank T. Wada, T. Kawanaka and their colleagues for helping with NMR analysis and technical advice and H. Kataoka for support. Special thanks are due to people in T. Hasegawa Co., Ltd for helpful discussion. This work was supported in part by grants from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and the Program for Promotion of Basic Research Activities for Innovative Biosciences (PROBRAIN) Japan. K.T. is recipient of grants from Uehara Memorial Foundation, Kato Memorial Bioscience Foundation, The Naito Foundation and The Mochida Memorial Foundation.

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