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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Dec 19;97(26):14560-5.

Comparative structural and functional analysis of the olfactory receptor genes flanking the human and mouse beta-globin gene clusters.

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98109, USA. Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University,


By sequencing regions flanking the beta-globin gene complex in mouse (Hbbc) and human (HBBC), we have shown that the beta-globin gene cluster is surrounded by a larger cluster of olfactory receptor genes (ORGs). To facilitate sequence comparisons and to investigate the regulation of ORG expression, we have mapped 5' sequences of mRNA from olfactory epithelium encoding beta-globin-proximal ORGs. We have found that several of these genes contain multiple noncoding exons that can be alternatively spliced. Surprisingly, the only common motifs found in the promoters of these genes are a "TATA" box and a purine-rich motif. Sequence comparisons between human and mouse reveal that most of the conserved regions are confined to the coding regions and transcription units of the genes themselves, but a few blocks of conserved sequence also are found outside of ORG transcription units. The possible influence of beta-globin regulatory sequences on ORG expression in olfactory epithelium was tested in mice containing a deletion of the endogenous beta-globin locus control region, but no change in expression of the neighboring ORGs was detected. We evaluate the implications of these results for possible mechanisms of regulation of ORG transcription.

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