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Weihong Lin and Jonathan Bell

The role of TRPM5 in olfactory sensory neurons: A model for understanding membrane ion channels in sensory signaling

Research mentors: Weihong Lin (Biological Sciences), and Jonathan Bell (Mathematics and Statistics)

Lin-BellThe mammalian olfactory system is capable of detecting thousands of airborne chemicals. Signal transduction, i.e. a process of transferring chemical energy into electrical impulses, is mediated by a G-protein coupled cAMP signaling cascade in which the binding of odorants to odor receptors results in activation of the cyclic nucleotide gated (CNG) channels. Recently another signaling ion channel, TRPM5 was identified in some olfactory sensory neurons with unknown function. UBM students will use electrophysiological recordings and mathematical modeling to determine the dynamic contribution of these ion channels. The picture shows an olfactory sensory neuron labeled with olfactory marker protein and TRPM5.