The olfactory receptor (OR) gene cluster on human chromosome 17p13.3 was subjected to mixed shotgun automated DNA sequencing. The resulting 412 kb of genomic sequence include 17 OR coding regions, 6 of which are pseudogenes. Six of the coding regions were discovered only upon genomic sequencing, while the others were previously reported as partial sequences. A comparison of DNA sequences in the vicinity of the OR coding regions revealed a common gene structure with an intronless coding region and at least one upstream noncoding exon. Potential gene control regions including specific pyrimidine:purine tracts and Olf-1 sites have been identified. One of the pseudogenes apparently has evolved into a CpG island. Four extensive CpG islands can be discerned within the cluster, not coupled to specific OR genes. The cluster is flanked at its telomeric end by an unidentified open reading frame (C17orf2) with no significant similarity to any known protein. A high proportion of the cluster sequence (about 60%) belongs to various families of interspersed repetitive elements, with a clear predominance of LINE repeats. The OR genes in the cluster belong to two families and seven subfamilies, which show a relatively high degree of intermixing along the cluster, in seemingly random orientations. This genomic organization may be best accounted for by a complex series of evolutionary events.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.