Protein binding in chemical communication

Beynon, R.J., Robertson, D.H.L., Hubbard, S. J., Gaskell, S.J. & Hurst, J.L. (1999) The role of protein binding in chemical communication: major urinary proteins in the house mouse. in "Chemical Signals in Vertebrates" (R.E. Johnston, D. Müller-Schwarze and P.W.Sorensen eds) Plenum Press pp 137-147

The study of chemical communication processes has emphasized small, volatile or water-soluble molecules that diffuse readily from originator to recipient. A role for other molecules that might alter the release or perception of these signalling molecules remains largely unexplored. The complete process must involve the enzymatic processes responsible for the synthesis or modification of the signalling molecules, may involve a mechanism of elaboration and release, and undoubtedly includes the proteins and intracellular signalling molecules that mediate reception and subsequent signal transduction to produce the appropriate behavioural response. However, our knowledge of the protein chemistry, enzymology and molecular biology of these events is relatively sparse. In this chapter, we describe the role of proteins in a subprocess of chemical communication: the binding and release of volatile molecules in rodent urine.