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Chem Senses. 2012 Jul;37(6):567-77. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjs040. Epub 2012 Mar 1.

Goα expression in the vomeronasal organ and olfactory bulb of the tammar wallaby.

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  • 1The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Kangaroo Genomics, Department of Zoology, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia. nanette@finistere-virtuell.de


The vomeronasal organ (VNO) detects pheromones via 2 large families of receptors: vomeronasal receptor 1, associated with the protein Giα2, and vomeronasal receptor 2, associated with Goα. We investigated the distribution of Goα in the developing and adult VNO and adult olfactory bulb of a marsupial, the tammar wallaby. Some cells expressed Goα as early as day 5 postpartum, but by day 30, Goα expressing cells were distributed throughout the receptor epithelium of the VNO. In the adult tammar, Goα appeared to be expressed in sensory neurons whose nuclei were mostly basally located in the vomeronasal receptor epithelium. Goα expressing vomeronasal receptor cells led to all areas of the accessory olfactory bulb (AOB). The lack of regionally restricted projection of the vomeronasal receptor cell type 2 in the tammar was similar to the uniform type, with the crucial difference that the uniform type only shows expression of Giα2 and no expression of Goα. The observed Goα staining pattern suggests that the tammar may have a third accessory olfactory type that could be intermediate to the segregated and uniform types already described.

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