Olfactory Signaling, Cilia, and Sensory Disorders

Project: Research project

Project Details


The long-term goal of this proposal is to elucidate the role of cilia on cells of the olfactory epithelium (OE) in the regulation and maintenance of olfactory function and their alterations in cilia-related disorders. Olfactory dysfunction in the general population is frequent, affecting at least 2.5 million people in the U.S. alone. In at least 20% of the cases the etiology of the chemosensory disturbance cannot be identified. Recently, we were one of the first to demonstrate olfactory dysfunction as a clinical manifestation of an emerging class of human genetic disorders, termed ciliopathies. It is surprising that while many of the ascribed functions of cilia are reported to occur in the OE and cilia are abundant on OSNs, we have an incomplete understanding of the role of cilia in this sensory tissue. New data in this application show that horizontal basal cells (HBCs) possess cilia (previously thought to exist in the OE only on olfactory sensory neurons) that may regulate proliferation or differentiation of olfactory stem cells. Therefore, investigation into the possible pleotropic roles of cilia in the OE is necessary. Importantly, despite significant progress identifying the genes underlying ciliopathies, curative therapies are not yet available to patients. Successful completion of the proposed work will provide us important new information regarding the pathogenesis of human sensory perception diseases and paves the way for the development of treatments in humans, where no curative therapies for ciliopathic disease exist.
Effective start/end date4/1/153/31/16


  • University of Florida (UFDSP00010712//5R01DC009606-07)
  • National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (UFDSP00010712//5R01DC009606-07)


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