You are here
STTR Phase I: Odorant receptor identification transforms odor design
Phone: (859) 492-2769
Phone: (304) 543-6660
Contact: Timothy McClintock
Type: Nonprofit College or University
The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I project will be to develop odorant receptor function bioassays to provide services for companies that develop and formulate odors used in many kinds of commercial products. These services identify the biological sensors responsible for specific odor sensations and determine how these sensors are involved in interaction effects between odors. Armed with this knowledge, several things become possible. The sensors associated with desirable smell sensations can be directly targeted, facilitating the formulation of odors designed to please, sooth, or stimulate. The sensors that respond to repulsive odors can also be identified, opening the way to develop specific blockers of these offensive stimuli. Furthermore, the highly unpredictable interactions that happen between odors can be characterized, and the sensors affected by these interactions can be identified. This makes it possible to predict the outcome of mixing odors, facilitating the development of new odors designed for specific purposes. In the same way that understanding the actions of signaling molecules in the body led to the development of better pharmaceutical drugs, these services will allow better manipulation of odor environments and experiences. This STTR Phase I project proposes to complete the development of two biological assays capable of identifying and characterizing the sensors that respond to any odor. Humans and animals employ hundreds of odor sensor proteins, but which respond to any given odor is unknown. One major objective is to improve an in vivo assay that identifies which sensors respond to an odor, increasing its sensitivity and capacity for screening odors rapidly. This objective tests new assay conditions designed to reduce variability and new ways to quantify the responses of the sensors. Also important is a proof-of-concept experiment designed to demonstrate that interactions between odors at specific sensor proteins can be measured in vivo. Preliminary results support the expectation that achieving these results will be possible. Another objective is to convert a cell culture assay for drugs into an assay capable of measuring the sensitivity of individual sensor proteins to odors. This objective tests new ways to facilitate the function of these sensors in the cell culture environment. Successful conversion of the cell culture assay depends on finding the right combination of accessory factors from among a few dozen candidates.
* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *