The molecular mechanisms regulating olfactory receptor (OR) expression in the mammalian nose are not yet understood. Here, we identify the transient expression of histone demethylase LSD1 and the OR-dependent expression of adenylyl cyclase 3 (Adcy3) as requirements for initiation and stabilization of OR expression. As a transcriptional coactivator, LSD1 is necessary for desilencing and initiating OR transcription, but as a transcriptional corepressor, it is incompatible with maintenance of OR expression, and its downregulation is imperative for stable OR choice. Adcy3, a sensor of OR expression and a transmitter of an OR-elicited feedback, mediates the downregulation of LSD1 and promotes the differentiation of olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs). This novel, three-node signaling cascade locks the epigenetic state of the chosen OR, stabilizes its singular expression, and prevents the transcriptional activation of additional OR alleles for the life of the neuron.
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