Odorant signal termination by olfactory UDP glucuronosyl transferase

Nature. 1991 Feb 28;349(6312):790-3. doi: 10.1038/349790a0.


The onset of olfactory transduction has been extensively studied, but considerably less is known about the molecular basis of olfactory signal termination. It has been suggested that the highly active cytochrome P450 monooxygenases of olfactory neuroepithelium are termination enzymes, a notion supported by the identification and molecular cloning of olfactory-specific cytochrome P450s (refs. 13-16). But as reactions catalysed by cytochrome P450 (refs 17, 18) often do not significantly alter volatility, lipophilicity or odour properties, cytochrome P450 may not be solely responsible for olfactory signal termination. In liver and other tissues, drug hydroxylation by cytochrome P450 is frequently followed by phase II biotransformation, for example by UDP glucuronosyl transferase (UGT), resulting in a major change of solubility and chemical properties. We report here the molecular cloning and expression of an olfactory-specific UGT. The olfactory enzyme, but not the one in liver microsomes, shows preference for odorants over standard UGT substrates. Furthermore, glucuronic acid conjugation abolishes the ability of odorants to stimulate olfactory adenylyl cyclase. This, together with the known broad spectrum of drug-detoxification enzymes, supports a role for olfactory UGT in terminating diverse odorant signals.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cattle
  • Cell Line
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA / isolation & purification
  • Epithelium / enzymology
  • Gene Library
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / genetics*
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / metabolism
  • Microsomes / enzymology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nose / enzymology
  • Odorants*
  • Protein Sorting Signals / genetics*
  • Rats
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Transfection


  • Protein Sorting Signals
  • DNA
  • Glucuronosyltransferase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/X57447
  • GENBANK/X57448
  • GENBANK/X57449
  • GENBANK/X57450
  • GENBANK/X57451
  • GENBANK/X57452
  • GENBANK/X57453
  • GENBANK/X57454
  • GENBANK/X57455
  • GENBANK/X57565