Asynchronous onset of odorant receptor expression in the developing zebrafish olfactory system

Neuron. 1996 Jan;16(1):23-34. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(00)80020-3.


The functional identity of an olfactory neuron is determined in large part by the odorant receptors it expresses. As an approach toward understanding the events that underlie the specification of olfactory neurons, we have examined the patterns of odorant receptor gene expression in the developing zebrafish. Surprisingly, we find that the onset of specific odorant receptor expression occurs asynchronously in the developing olfactory placode. Our results suggest that odorant receptor expression is not strictly stochastic, but rather is governed by temporally regulated cues during development. Moreover, by restricting the number of receptor genes competent for transcription at different times of development, temporal waves of expression may provide a mechanism for simplifying the regulation of the large odorant receptor gene family.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Epithelium / embryology
  • Epithelium / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Morphogenesis
  • Multigene Family
  • Olfactory Mucosa / embryology
  • Olfactory Mucosa / metabolism
  • Olfactory Pathways / embryology*
  • Olfactory Pathways / growth & development
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / metabolism
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Receptors, Odorant / biosynthesis*
  • Receptors, Odorant / classification
  • Receptors, Odorant / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Zebrafish / embryology*
  • Zebrafish / growth & development


  • Receptors, Odorant

Associated data

  • GENBANK/U42392
  • GENBANK/U42393
  • GENBANK/U42394
  • GENBANK/U42395
  • GENBANK/U42396
  • GENBANK/U42397
  • GENBANK/U42398