Olfaction plays an indispensable role in human and animals in self and environmental recognition, as well as intra- and interspecific communication. Following the discovery of a family of olfactory receptors (ORs) by Buck and Axel in 1991, it has been established that the sense of smell begins with the molecular recognition of a chemical odorant by one or more ORs expressed in the olfactory sensory neurons. Therefore, characterization of the molecular interactions between odorant molecules and ORs is a key step in the elucidation of the general properties of the olfactory system and in the development of applications, i.e., design of new odorants, search for blockers, etc. The process putted in place at ChemCom to improve the expression of ORs at the cytoplasmic membrane of the HEK293 cell and assays enabling large-scale deorphanization, and to characterize the interaction between chemical odorants and ORs is described. The family of human ORs includes ca. 400 putatively functional ORs which are GPCRs (G protein-coupled receptors); to date over 100 human ORs have been deorphanized.
Stroma cell-derived factor-1? (SDF-1?) is a cardioprotective chemokine, acting through its G-protein coupled receptor CXCR4. In experimental acute myocardial infarction, administration of SDF-1? induces an early improvement of systolic function which is difficult to explain solely by an anti-apoptotic and angiogenic effect. We wondered whether SDF-1? signaling might have direct effects on calcium transients and beating frequency.Primary rat neonatal cardiomyocytes were culture-expanded and characterized by immunofluorescence staining. Calcium sparks were studied by fluorescence microscopy after calcium loading with the Fluo-4 acetoxymethyl ester sensor. The cardiomyocyte enriched cellular suspension expressed troponin I and CXCR4 but was vimentin negative. Addition of SDF-1? in the medium increased cytoplasmic calcium release. The calcium response was completely abolished by using a neutralizing anti-CXCR4 antibody and partially suppressed and delayed by preincubation with an inositol triphosphate receptor (IP3R) blocker, but not with a ryanodine receptor (RyR) antagonist. Calcium fluxes induced by caffeine, a RyR agonist, were decreased by an IP3R blocker. Treatment with forskolin or SDF-1? increased cardiomyocyte beating frequency and their effects were additive. In vivo, treatment with SDF-1? increased left ventricular dP/dtmax.These results suggest that in rat neonatal cardiomyocytes, the SDF-1?/CXCR4 signaling increases calcium transients in an IP3-gated fashion leading to a positive chronotropic and inotropic effect.
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