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Neuron. 2005 Mar 3;45(5):661-6.

Coexpression of two functional odor receptors in one neuron.

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Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


One of the most fundamental tenets in the field of olfaction is that each olfactory receptor neuron (ORN) expresses a single odorant receptor. However, the one receptor-one neuron principle is difficult to establish rigorously. Here we construct a receptor-to-neuron map for an entire olfactory organ in Drosophila and find that two receptor genes are coexpressed in one class of ORN. Both receptors are functional in an in vivo expression system, they are only 16% identical in amino acid sequence, and the genes that encode them are unlinked. Most importantly, their coexpression has been conserved for >45 million years. Expression of multiple odor receptors in a cell provides an additional degree of freedom for odor coding.

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