Receptor Site Theory

We began class with a team-building exercise where students shared answers to the Cosmos video from yesterday.  Next, we transitioned to Lesson 41, the final lesson of chapter 7, which brings together student learning about how the olfactory system works (the way we perceive smell).

The TED-Ed video below reviews the process of how we smell:

The Lesson 41 PowerPoint includes the key vocabulary concept of receptor site theory, where students learn the importance of molecule shape in determining recognition by receptor molecules involved in sensing smell.

Work for today (+5 bonus points for finished poster, due Monday, January 7, 2019):

  1. Research the molecule responsible for your favorite smell.  Example: limonene is the compound that gives orange peels their smell (CompoundChem has a huge list of aroma chemistry infographics)
  2. View the molecule on MolView.
  3. Research whether the olfactory receptor is known for the molecule.  A list of smell molecules and their olfactory receptors is located at OlfactionDB. For limonene, the olfactory receptors are coded for by the genes Olfr56 (mouse) and OR2V1 (human).
  4. Make a poster (8.5″ x 11″ paper)!  Your poster should include:
  • the name of the molecule
  • the structure
  • the smell
  • the name of the olfactory receptor (if known)


  • Complete up to 4 different POGIL activities and earn +1 bonus point per page!  Due Monday, January 7, 2019.
  • Read Lesson 41 in the textbook.  Login via and enter your username and password:
    • Username: wahps****s-####### (**** = first 4 letters of your last name and ####### = student number).  Remember to include the dash between s and #.
    • Password: S-####### (the S must be capitalized)
  • Write notes for Lesson 41 on the Chapter 7 Notes handout.
  • Work through the practice problems at the end of Lesson 41.
  • Please ask questions about anything from Lesson 41 you do not yet fully understand.