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Scientists have studied the features of the human sense of smell

Biologists from the medical center were able to understand how people can both feel different scents at the University of Pittsburgh. The secret turned out to be linked to the principle of physics known as cooperative.

The article is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

When inhaled, the smell of carriers, which are a complex mixture of molecules that fall into the back of the nose, which communicate with the specialized receptors. Those, in turn, are located on the surface of millions of olfactory neurons, which send signals to the brain, where the decoding of odors.

The difficulty lies in the fact that individual neurons have only one type of receptor and therefore perceive specific odor molecules. However, researchers have discovered hundreds of different types of olfactory receptors, which are evenly distributed throughout the population of neurons that allows a person to perceive a wide range of odors.

Given that for each type of receptor gene responsible one, it remained unclear how an individual neuron activity can be suppressed nearly a thousand other olfactory genes. If one neuron has many different receptors, people have been able to recognize the different aromas.

The researchers found that this is achieved through a complex three-way mechanism of regulation of gene activity. This mechanism is based on various types of epigenetic gene interaction, which resulted in the accidental activation of a single gene leads to a shutdown sequence of other olfactory genes.

The principle is similar to the cooperative processes, which involve a large number of particles interacting in concert with each other. An example of such cooperation is the transfer of heat or sound in the bodies consisting of a variety of molecules capable of transmitting energy.

Epigenetic regulation is the change in the activity of genes without mutation. In particular, some molecules bind to DNA, interfering with the transcription process. As suppression may be involved and specific DNA regions, which, due to torsion of the double helix are in the vicinity of the target gene and prevent its activation, writes "to Lenta.ru."

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