Potential ligand-binding residues in rat olfactory receptors identified by correlated mutation analysis

Recept Channels. 1995;3(2):89-95.


A family of G-protein-coupled receptors is believed to mediate the recognition of odor molecules. In order to identify potential ligand-binding residues, we have applied correlated mutation analysis to receptor sequences from the rat. This method identifies pairs of sequence positions where residues remain conserved or mutate in tandem, thereby suggesting structural or functional importance. The analysis supported molecular modeling studies in suggesting several residues in positions that were consistent with ligand-binding function. Two of these positions, dominated by histidine residues, may play important roles in ligand binding and could confer broad specificity to mammalian odor receptors. The presence of positive (overdominant) selection at some of the identified positions provides additional evidence for roles in ligand binding. Higher-order groups of correlated residues were also observed. Each group may interact with an individual ligand determinant, and combinations of these groups may provide a multi-dimensional mechanism for receptor diversity.

Publication types

  • 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
  • Ligands
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation*
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Ligands