Contribution of the receptor guanylyl cyclase GC-D to chemosensory function in the olfactory epithelium

PNAS, 2007, vol. 104, no. 36, 14507-12 published on 04.09.2007, online article
The mammalian main olfactory epithelium (MOE) recognizes and transduces olfactory cues through a G protein-coupled, cAMPdependent signaling cascade. Additional chemosensory transduction mechanisms have been suggested but remain controversial. We show that a subset of MOE neurons expressing the orphan receptor guanylyl cyclase GC-D and the cyclic nucleotide-gated channel subunit CNGA3 employ an excitatory cGMP-dependent transduction mechanism for chemodetection. By combining gene targeting of Gucy2d, which encodes GC-D, with patch clamp recording and confocal Ca2+ imaging from single dendritic knobs in situ, we find that GC-D cells recognize the peptide hormones uroguanylin and guanylin as well as natural urine stimuli. These molecules stimulate an excitatory, cGMP-dependent signaling cascade that increases intracellular Ca2+ and action potential firing. Responses are eliminated in both Gucy2d- and Cnga3-null mice, demonstrating the essential role of GC-D and CNGA3 in the transduction of these molecules. The sensitive and selective detection of two important natriuretic peptides by the GC-D neurons suggests the possibility that these cells contribute to the maintenance of salt and water homeostasis or the detection of cues related to hunger, satiety, or thirst.

TU München
Helmholtz München
MPI of Neurobiology
MPI of Biochemistry