Although multiple pathways are involved in the olfactory transduction mechanism, cAMP-dependent pathway has been considered to contribute mainly to the transduction. We examined the degree of contribution of cAMP-independent pathway to the turtle olfactory response by recording inward currents from isolated cells, nerve impulses from cilia and olfactory bulbar responses. The results obtained by the three recordings were essentially consistent with each other, but detail studies were carried out by recording the bulbar response to obtain quantitative data. Application of an odorant cocktail to the isolated olfactory neuron after injection of 1 mM cAMP from the patch pipette elicited a large inward current. Mean amplitude of inward currents evoked by the cocktail with 1 mM cAMP in the patch pipette was similar to that without cAMP in the pipette. Application of the cocktail after the response to 50 microM forskolin was adapted also induced a large inward current. Application of the odorant cocktail to the olfactory epithelium, after the response to 50 microM forskolin was adapted, brought about an appreciable increase in the impulse frequency. The bulbar response to forskolin alone reached a saturation level around 10 microM. After the response to 50 microM forskolin was adapted, 11 species of odorants were applied to the olfactory epithelium. The magnitudes of responses to the odorants after forskolin were 45-80% of those of the control responses. There was no essential difference in the degree of the suppression by forskolin between cAMP- and IP3-producing odorants classified in the rat, suggesting that certain part of the forskolin-suppressive component was brought about by nonspecific action of forskolin. Application of a membrane permeant cAMP analogue, cpt-cAMP elicited a large response, and 0.1 mM citralva after 3 mM cpt-cAMP elicited 51% of the control response which was close to the response to citralva after 50 microM forskolin. A membrane permeant cGMP analogue, db-cGMP elicited a small response and the response to 0.1 mM citralva was unaffected by db-cGMP. It was concluded that cAMP-independent (probably IP3-independent) pathway greatly contributes to the turtle olfactory transduction.

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