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Nat Neurosci. 2000 Jul;3(7):687-93.

Mutually exclusive expression of odorant receptor transgenes.

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


To study the mutually exclusive expression of odorant receptor (OR) genes, we generated transgenic mice that carried the murine OR gene MOR28. Expression of the transgene and the endogenous MOR28 was distinguished by using two different markers, beta-galactosidase and green fluorescent protein (GFP), respectively. Double staining of the olfactory epithelium revealed that the two genes were rarely expressed simultaneously in individual olfactory neurons. A similar exclusion was also observed between differently tagged but identical transgenes integrated into the same locus of one particular chromosome. Although allelic inactivation has been reported for the choice between the maternal and paternal alleles, this is the first demonstration of mutually exclusive activation among non-allelic OR gene members with identical coding and regulatory sequences. Such an unusual mode of gene expression, monoallelic and mutually exclusive, has previously been shown only for the antigen-receptor genes of the immune system.

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