Biochemistry Seminar: Stephen Liberles
Wed, Nov 06
12:00 PM — 1:00 PM
Marshak160 Convent Avenue
Biochemistry Seminar: Stephen Liberles, "Olfaction, GPCRs, and Instinctive Mouse Behavior"Dr. Stephen Liberles from the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School will give a talk titled, "Olfaction, GPCRs, and Instinctive Mouse Behavior."
ABSTRACT: Olfaction is one of our 5 basic external senses, and a principal mechanism by which we perceive the external world. The mouse olfactory system detects odors and pheromones using large families of G Protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCRs). We recently identified additional mammalian olfactory receptors, including a family of GPCRs named trace amine-associated receptors (TAARs). Using the TAARs as a model system, we characterized ligands, receptors, and neural circuits underlying various odor-driven behaviors. We identified the first ligands for 14 TAARs, with each detecting different volatile amines, and obtained structural insights into how ligand recognition is achieved. Interestingly, some TAAR ligands are natural products that evoke strong aversion or attraction responses. We identified an aversive predator odor that repels mice and rats, a sexually dimorphic mouse odor that evokes species-specific attraction responses, and a juvenile mouse pheromone that inhibits adult sexual behavior. Our work provides a foundation for understanding neuronal mechanisms by which sensory circuits generate perceptions and behaviors.