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Dev Biol. 2001 Jan 1;229(1):119-27.

Onset of odorant receptor gene expression during olfactory sensory neuron regeneration.

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Division of Neurobiology, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720-3200, USA.


Individual olfactory sensory neurons are thought to express only one odorant receptor gene from a repertoire of hundreds to thousands of genes. How do these sensory neurons choose just one specific odorant receptor to express during their differentiation? As an initial attempt toward understanding the process of odorant receptor gene regulation, we studied when odorant receptor expression is activated during sensory neuron regeneration. We find that receptor gene expression is activated in postmitotic neurons and can occur in the absence of the olfactory bulb. These results suggest that receptor expression is restricted to the terminal stages of olfactory neuron differentiation, and sensory neurons do not simply inherit the odorant receptor that is already expressed in mitotic precursor cells. Our results also support a model in which odorant receptor gene expression occurs independent of the olfactory bulb.

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