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Neuron. 2002 Aug 15;35(4):681-96.

Minigenes impart odorant receptor-specific axon guidance in the olfactory bulb.

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The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA.


An olfactory sensory neuron (OSN) expresses selectively one member from a repertoire of approximately 1000 odorant receptor (OR) genes and projects its axon to a specific glomerulus in the olfactory bulb. Both processes are here recapitulated by MOR23 and M71 OR minigenes, introduced into mice. Minigenes of 9 kb and as short as 2.2 kb are selectively expressed by neurons that do not coexpress the endogenous gene but coproject their axons to the same glomeruli. Deletion of a 395 bp upstream region in the MOR23 minigene abolishes expression. In this region we recognize sequence motifs conserved in many OR genes. Transgenic lines expressing the OR in ectopic epithelial zones form ectopic glomeruli, which also receive input from OSNs expressing the cognate endogenous receptor. This suggests a recruitment through homotypic interactions between OSNs expressing the same OR.

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