TitleMolecular and functional characterization of buffalo nasal epithelial odorant binding proteins and their structural insights by in silico and biochemical approaches
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsManikkaraja C, Bhavika M, Singh R, Nagarathnam B, George G, Gulyani A, Archunan G, Sowdhamini R
JournalJ Biomol Struct Dyn
Date Published12/2020

The olfactory system is capable of detecting and distinguishing thousands of environmental odorants that play a key role in reproduction, social behaviours including pheromones influenced classical events. Membrane secretary odorant binding proteins (OBPs) are soluble lipocalins, localized in the nasal membrane of mammals. They bind and carry odorants within the nasal epithelium to putative olfactory transmembrane receptors (ORs). OBP has not yet been exploited to develop a suitable technique to detect oestrus which is being reported as a difficult task in buffalo. In the present study, using molecular biology and protein engineering approaches, we have cloned six novel OBP isoforms from buffalo nasal epithelium odorant-binding proteins (bnOBPs). Furthermore, 3 D models were developed and molecular-docking, dynamics experiments were performed by in silico approaches. In particular, we found four residues (Phe104, Phe134, Phe69 and Asn118) in OBP1a, which contributed to favourable interactions towards two sex pheromones, specifically oleic acid and p-cresol. We expressed this protein in Escherichia coli from female buffalo urine and validated through fluorescence quenching studies to show similar strong binding affinities of OBP1a to oleic acid and p-cresol. By using structural data, the binding specificity was also verified by site-directed mutagenesis of the four residues followed by in vitro binding assays. Our results enable us to better understand the functions of different nasal epithelium OBP isoforms in buffaloes. They also lead to improved understanding of the interaction between olfactory proteins and odorants to develop highly selective biosensing devices for non-invasive detection of oestrus in buffaloes. Communicated by Ramaswamy H. Sarma.