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Martens Lab explores one cause of anosmia

Individuals with anosmia cannot smell the world around them. Anosmia can result from many causes, including head injuries and viral disease. A recent study from the Jeffrey Martens lab at the UF Center for Smell and Taste highlights how disruptions of the microscopic highways that help bring smell-detecting proteins (such as odor receptors) into position to detect odors may underlie certain types of anosmia. As described in the journal Nature Communications, lead author Corey Williams and his colleagues found that one group of anosmic individuals, Bardet-Biedl syndrome patients, can likely blame their inability to smell on faulty transport along those tiny highways within olfactory sensory neurons of the nose. This transport disruption is due to a gene mutation that results in a defect in a cellular process called intraflagellar transport (or IFT). Specific strategies to correct IFT defects in Bardet-Biedl syndrome patients and other anosmic individuals with similar genetic disruptions may lead to the development of novel therapies for anosmia.

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