Receptor Site Theory

For our final lesson of Chapter 7, we began with the TED-Ed video below to review 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 (+10 assignment category bonus points for finished poster, due Monday, January 6, 2020):

  1. Complete the Winter Break Kahoot! Prep Google Form (for a fun Friday!)
  2. 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)
  3. View the molecule on MolView.
  4. 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).
  5. 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)

Keep Learning!


  • Read Lesson 41 in the textbook.  Login via and enter your username and password.
  • Write notes for Lesson 41 and 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.

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