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Nature. 1992 Jan 30;355(6359):453-5.

Expression of members of the putative olfactory receptor gene family in mammalian germ cells.

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  • 1IRIBHN, UniversitĂ© Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium.


A series of genomic and complementary DNA clones encoding new putative members of G protein-coupled receptors were isolated using homology cloning and low-stringency polymerase chain reaction. Among the unidentified receptors ('orphan receptors'), a human genomic clone (HGMP07) was characterized by the presence of its transcripts in the testis and by its belonging to a large subfamily of genes sharing extensive sequence similarities. Sequence comparison demonstrated that this gene subfamily is the human counterpart of the putative rat olfactory receptors cloned recently. Another 48 members of the family were cloned. Northern blotting further demonstrated the presence of olfactory receptor transcripts in germ cells. Our finding suggests that a common receptor gene family encodes olfactory receptors and sperm cell receptors that could be involved in chemotaxis during fertilization.

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