SEVENS has received a certain degree of response from experimental researchers. Although it was hardly accessed at all upon its release in 2003, SEVENS is now accessed thousands pages (sometimes over 10,000 pages) at a month. Although there is already a number of databases for known GPCRs both overseas and in Japan, SEVENS is the unique database that comprehensively brings together all genetic information including unidentified GPCRs, and allows researchers to visualize them in a user-friendly way. With its smart user interface and number of links, SEVENS is a highly sophisticated database. GRIFFIN has also been well-received, and these systems are considered to be a tool and database to contribute to GPCR gene researchers.
At present SEVENS incorporates the genetic information of other species in addition to human GPCR genes. This is because analysis of non-human species can also be conducted with ease once a protocol has been made. As a result, CBRC has been recently requested to participate in the Japan-China Joint Silkworm Genome Project.
An interesting feature detected through the SEVENS project is that GPCR genes show an unexpected bias in distribution on the genome. In the case of humans,¡¡about 70 percent of GPCRs are found together in the 11th chromosome, however almost all of these are odor molecule receptors (olfactory receptors). In addition, it is now understood that the distribution of receptors related to the five senses, including taste, smell, and sight, among species even within the class of mammals differs greatly.
Currently, the SEVENS project is taking up the new challenge of research focusing on an integrated understanding of the olfactory system. The smell receiving mechanism produces pleasant and unpleasant feelings by the blend a variety of odor molecules together. Through SEVENS, all olfactory receptors are within easy reach. By enhancing the GRIFFIN protocols, it should be possible to simulate activation of all olfactory receptors in response to a variety of odor molecules. We hope that this will provide the chance to develop ways of creating more pleasant environments.
The SEVENS project will continue to develop in the future. Based on the functional data accumulated over the long span of time until now, we plan to meaningfully collaborate with experimental researchers, and produce outcomes that contribute to reveal the higher level clarification of the phenomenon of life to which GPCRs relate.