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Mol Cell Neurosci. 2013 Nov;57:120-9. doi: 10.1016/j.mcn.2013.08.001. Epub 2013 Aug 17.

Temporal patterns of odorant receptor gene expression in adult and aged mice.

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Max Planck Research Unit for Molecular Neurogenetics, 60438 Frankfurt, Germany.


In the mouse, the sense of smell relies predominantly on the expression of ~1200 odorant receptor (OR) genes in the main olfactory epithelium (MOE). Each mature olfactory sensory neuron (OSN) in the MOE is thought to express just one of these OR genes; conversely, an OR gene is expressed in thousands to tens of thousands of OSNs per mouse. Here, we have characterized temporal patterns of OR gene expression in a cohort of inbred C57BL6/N mice from the Aged Rodent Colonies of the National Institute on Aging. We applied the NanoString multiplex platform to quantify RNA abundance for 531 OR genes in whole olfactory mucosa (WOM) tissue samples. The five study groups were females aged 2, 6, 12, 18, and 31 months (mo). We classified the 531 temporal patterns using a step-down quadratic regression method for time course analysis. The majority of OR genes (58.4%) are classified as flat: there is no significant difference from a horizontal line within this time window. There are 32.8% of OR genes with a downward profile, 7.2% with an upward profile, and 1.7% with a convex or concave profile. But the magnitude of these decreases and increases tends to be small: only 4.3% of OR genes are differentially expressed (DE) at 31 mo compared to 2 mo. Interestingly, the variances of NanoString counts for individual OR genes are homogeneous among the age groups. Our analyses of these 15,930 OR gene expression data of C57BL6/N mice that were raised and housed under well-controlled conditions indicate that OR gene expression at the MOE level is intrinsically stable.


Aging; Gene expression; Odorant receptor; Olfactory system

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