Olfactory and taste receptors are expressed primarily in the nasal olfactory epithelium and gustatory taste bud cells, where they transmit real-time sensory signals to the brain. However, they are also expressed in multiple extra-nasal and extra-oral tissues, being implicated in diverse biological processes including sperm chemotaxis, muscle regeneration, bronchoconstriction and bronchodilatation, inflammation, appetite regulation and energy metabolism. Elucidation of the physiological roles of these ectopic receptors is revealing potential therapeutic and diagnostic applications in conditions including wounds, hair loss, asthma, obesity and cancers. This Review outlines current understanding of the diverse functions of ectopic olfactory and taste receptors and assesses their potential to be therapeutically exploited.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Drug Discovery