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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2007 Oct;17(5):465-70. Epub 2007 Aug 20.

Odorant and pheromone receptor gene regulation in vertebrates.

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  • 1Department of Zoology and Animal Biology, and NCCR Frontiers in Genetics, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.


The largest mammalian gene family codes for odorant receptors and is exclusively devoted to the perception of the outside world. Its expression is very peculiar, since olfactory sensory neurons are only allowed to express a single of its numerous members, from a single parental allele. How this is achieved is unknown, but recent work points to multiple regulatory mechanisms, possibly shared by pheromone receptor genes, acting at (a) a general level, via the expression of the chemoreceptor itself and (b) a more restricted level, defined by activator elements.

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