Maternally Inherited Peptides Are Strain Specific Chemosignals That Activate a New Candidate Class of Vomeronasal Chemosensory Receptor
The chemical cues that provide an olfactory portrait of mammalian individuals are in part detected by chemosensory receptors in the vomeronasal organ (VNO). By and large, the pertinent receptor-cue combinations used for olfactory communication are unidentified. Here we identify members of the formyl peptide receptor (FPR) family of G protein coupled receptors as candidate chemosensory receptors in the VNO of mice. We demonstrate that N-formylated mitochondrially encoded peptides presented by the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecule H2-M3 stimulate a subset of the VNO sensory neurons (VSNs). We show that one VNO localized FPR, Fpr-rs1, is differentially activated by strain specific variants of N-formylated peptides. We show that N-formylated peptides can function as chemosignals in a strain selective pregnancy block. We propose that this link between self-recognition peptides of the immune system and chemosensory pathways provides a possible molecular means to communicate the nature of an individual's maternal lineage or strain.
formyl peptide receptors
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