Biomimetic chemical sensors using nanoelectronic readout of olfactory receptor proteins

ACS Nano. 2011 Jul 26;5(7):5408-16. doi: 10.1021/nn200489j. Epub 2011 Jul 6.


We have designed and implemented a practical nanoelectronic interface to G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), a large family of membrane proteins whose roles in the detection of molecules outside eukaryotic cells make them important pharmaceutical targets. Specifically, we have coupled olfactory receptor proteins (ORs) with carbon nanotube transistors. The resulting devices transduce signals associated with odorant binding to ORs in the gas phase under ambient conditions and show responses that are in excellent agreement with results from established assays for OR-ligand binding. The work represents significant progress on a path toward a bioelectronic nose that can be directly compared to biological olfactory systems as well as a general method for the study of GPCR function in multiple domains using electronic readout.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomimetics / instrumentation*
  • Biosensing Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Electrical Equipment and Supplies*
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Nanotechnology / instrumentation*
  • Nanotubes, Carbon / chemistry
  • Receptors, Odorant / metabolism*
  • Transistors, Electronic


  • Nanotubes, Carbon
  • Receptors, Odorant