Mouse olfactory sensory neurons express 10,000 genes

J Comp Neurol. 2007 Jun 20;502(6):1138-56. doi: 10.1002/cne.21365.


Olfactory epithelial cells from olfactory marker protein-green fluorescent protein (OMP-GFP) mice were separated by fluorescence-activated cell sorting into a GFP+ sample enriched in mature olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) and a GFP- sample enriched in all other cells. GeneChip expression profiling of these samples provided a predictive measure of expression in OSNs. Validation tests comparing the ratio of GFP+/GFP- signal intensity against expression patterns from in situ hybridization for 189 mRNAs proved statistically significant and provided probabilities of expression in OSNs scaled according to the signal intensity ratios. These probabilities predict that, among 11,596 mRNAs detected in the GFP+ sample, more than 10,000 are expressed in OSNs. Transcripts and overrepresented categories of mRNAs detected in the GFP+ sample agreed with known properties of OSNs and predict additional properties. For example, ciliogenesis and spermatogenesis were overrepresented, consistent with similarities between OSN cilia and sperm flagella. Chromatin assembly mRNAs were expressed throughout the OSN cell lineage, consistent with the hypothesis that chromatin remodeling plays a role in OSN differentiation. We detected numerous signaling proteins and receptors, such as 30 nonchemosensory G-protein-coupled receptors, including the presynaptic glutamate receptor mGlur4 and the Wnt receptor Fzd3. The largest group of mRNAs, however, was the hundreds of transcriptional regulators that presumably determine the OSN phenotype. The absence of OMP protein in OMP-GFP mice had no detectable effect on mRNA abundance. Within limits prescribed by the nature of microarray data and the in situ hybridization validation, these data should be useful in directing further experiments on OSN function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly / genetics
  • Cilia / genetics
  • Cilia / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics*
  • Olfactory Mucosa / cytology
  • Olfactory Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / metabolism*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / genetics


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Transcription Factors
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins