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, 117 (6), 801-15

Gene Switching and the Stability of Odorant Receptor Gene Choice

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Gene Switching and the Stability of Odorant Receptor Gene Choice

Benjamin M Shykind et al. Cell.

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.

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