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J Neurosci. 1999 Oct 1;19(19):8409-18.

Olfactory neurons expressing closely linked and homologous odorant receptor genes tend to project their axons to neighboring glomeruli on the olfactory bulb.

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Department of Biophysics and Biochemistry, Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-0032, Japan.


We have characterized two separate odorant receptor (OR) gene clusters to examine how olfactory neurons expressing closely linked and homologous OR genes project their axons to the olfactory bulb. Murine OR genes, MOR28, MOR10, and MOR83, share 75-95% similarities in the amino acid sequences and are tightly linked on chromosome 14. In situ hybridization has demonstrated that the three genes are expressed in the same zone, at the most dorsolateral and ventromedial portions of the olfactory epithelium, and are rarely expressed simultaneously in individual neurons. Furthermore, we have found that olfactory neurons expressing MOR28, MOR10, or MOR83 project their axons to very close but distinct subsets of glomeruli on the medial and lateral sides of the olfactory bulb. Similar results have been obtained with another murine OR gene cluster for A16 and MOR18 on chromosome 2, sharing 91% similarity in the amino acid sequences. These results may indicate an intriguing possibility that olfactory neurons expressing homologous OR genes within a cluster tend to converge their axons to proximal but distinct subsets of glomeruli. These lines of study will shed light on the molecular basis of topographical projection of olfactory neurons to the olfactory bulb.

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