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

Gene switching and the stability of odorant receptor gene choice.

Author information

1
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.

Abstract

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.

PMID:
15186780
DOI:
10.1016/j.cell.2004.05.015
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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