Send to

Choose Destination
Cell. 2004 Jun 11;117(6):801-15.

Gene switching and the stability of odorant receptor gene choice.

Author information

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Individual olfactory sensory neurons express only a single odorant receptor from a large family of genes, and this singularity is an essential feature in models of olfactory perception. We have devised a genetic strategy to examine the stability of receptor choice. We observe that immature olfactory sensory neurons that express a given odorant receptor can switch receptor expression, albeit at low frequency. Neurons that express a mutant receptor gene switch receptor transcription with significantly greater probability, suggesting that the expression of a functional odorant receptor elicits a feedback signal that terminates switching. This process of receptor gene switching assures that a neuron will ultimately express a functional receptor and that the choice of this receptor will remain stable for the life of the cell.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center