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Front. Physiol. | doi: 10.3389/fphys.2018.01673

Olfactory, Taste, and Photo Sensory Receptors in Non-Sensory Organs: It Just Makes Sense

  • 1Johns Hopkins University, United States

Sensory receptors that detect and respond to light, taste, and smell primarily belong to the G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) superfamily. In addition to their established roles in the nose, tongue, and eyes, these sensory GPCRs have been found in many ‘non-sensory’ organs where they respond to different physicochemical stimuli, initiating signaling cascades in these extrasensory systems. For example, taste receptors in the airway, and photoreceptors in vascular smooth muscle cells, both cause smooth muscle relaxation when activated. In addition, olfactory receptors are present within the vascular system, where they play roles in angiogenesis as well as in modulating vascular tone. By better understanding the physiological and pathophysiological roles of sensory receptors in non-sensory organs, novel therapeutic agents can be developed targeting these receptors, ultimately leading to treatments for pathological conditions and potential cures for various disease states.

Keywords: G-protein couple receptor, Bitter taste receptor, Opsins, olfactory receptor (OR), sensory receptor

Received: 13 Sep 2018; Accepted: 07 Nov 2018.

Edited by:

Pierre De Meyts, de Duve Institute, Belgium

Reviewed by:

Martin Witt, Universitätsmedizin Rostock, Germany
Dietmar Krautwurst, Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology, Technical University of Munich (LSB), Germany  

Copyright: © 2018 Dalesio, Barreto, Pluznick and Berkowitz. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: MD. Nicholas M. Dalesio, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, United States, ndalesi1@jhmi.edu