A Near-Complete Spatial Map of Olfactory Receptors in the Mouse Main Olfactory Epithelium

Chem Senses. 2018 Jul 5;43(6):427-432. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjy030.


Different regions of the mammalian nose smell different odors. In the mouse olfactory system, spatially regulated expression of >1000 olfactory receptors (ORs) along the dorsomedial-ventrolateral (DV) axis forms a topological map in the main olfactory epithelium (MOE). However, the locations of most ORs along the DV axis are currently unknown. By sequencing mRNA of 12 isolated MOE pieces, we mapped out the DV locations-as quantified by "zone indices" on a scale of 1-5-of 1033 OR genes with an estimated error of 0.3 zone indices. Our map covered 81% of all intact OR genes and 99.4% of the total OR mRNA abundance. Spatial regulation tended to vary gradually along chromosomes. We further identified putative non-OR genes that may exhibit spatial expression along the DV axis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Mice
  • Olfactory Mucosa / innervation*
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / cytology*
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / physiology*
  • Receptors, Odorant / metabolism*
  • Transcriptome


  • Receptors, Odorant