Xing Lab paper on human smell receives publicity

The Xing Lab’s paper, “Achieving diverse and monoallelic olfactory receptor selection through dual-objective optimization design“, published in PNAS this past Monday, has received publicity from several national and international outlets.

The paper explains the decade-long question related to the maturation of olfactory sensory neurons.

“We are amazed that nature has solved the seemingly daunting engineering process of olfactory receptor expression in such a simple way,” lead researcher Dr. Jianhua Xing said.

Using existing experimental research, Dr. Xing and his collaborators created a computational model to see how olfactory receptor expression can be both uniform across a single neuron, yet very diverse across the entire population of neurons. The computational model suggests that nature solves a daunting engineering problem of olfactory receptor selection through simple physics of cooperativity. The research showed a “three-layer regulation mechanism” of olfactory receptor gene expression that utilized the principle of cooperativity, where elements of a system act non-independently.

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Read more about the research in…

Phys.org – Pitt press release
UPI
The Daily Mail

Xiao-Jun Tian, Hang Zhang, Jens Sannerud, Jianhua Xing (2016) Achieving diverse and monoallelic olfactory receptor selection through dual-objective optimization design Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

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