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Institute for Advanced Simulations (IAS)

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Neuron Function: Chemical Senses

The outside world of humans basically consists of a collection of physical (mechanical, sound, vision and temperature) and chemical (taste and olfaction) facets, detected using our sensory systems. Understanding how we sample chemicals is particularly important. Not only it helps to understand the way we form a picture of the world, but also it is important for food research. In the long run, understanding odorant and chemical sensing might allow us to fine tune taste and smell sensations. G-protein Coupled Receptors (GPCRs) and ion channels are the key players here: GPCRs detect odorants and, along ion channels, taste molecules. Our lab focuses on the two largest receptors families, the odorant and bitter taste GPCRs: