Sociosexual behavior requires both activating and repressive roles of Tfap2e/ AP-2ε in vomeronasal sensory neurons

Elife. 2022 Sep 16:11:e77259. doi: 10.7554/eLife.77259.


Neuronal identity dictates the position in an epithelium, and the ability to detect, process, and transmit specific signals to specified targets. Transcription factors (TFs) determine cellular identity via direct modulation of genetic transcription and recruiting chromatin modifiers. However, our understanding of the mechanisms that define neuronal identity and their magnitude remain a critical barrier to elucidate the etiology of congenital and neurodegenerative disorders. The rodent vomeronasal organ provides a unique system to examine in detail the molecular mechanisms underlying the differentiation and maturation of chemosensory neurons. Here, we demonstrated that the identity of postmitotic/maturing vomeronasal sensory neurons (VSNs), and vomeronasal-dependent behaviors can be reprogrammed through the rescue of Tfap2e/AP-2ε expression in the Tfap2eNull mice, and partially reprogrammed by inducing ectopic Tfap2e expression in mature apical VSNs. We suggest that the TF Tfap2e can reprogram VSNs bypassing cellular plasticity restrictions, and that it directly controls the expression of batteries of vomeronasal genes.

Keywords: Tfap2e; cellular plasticity; developmental biology; mouse; neuroscience; nuronal identity; single-cell RNA sequencing; transcription factors; vomeronasal.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Vomeronasal Organ* / metabolism


  • Chromatin
  • Transcription Factors

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE192746
  • GEO/GSE193139
  • GEO/GSE190330