Olfactory marker protein (OMP) expression is highly restricted to mature olfactory neurons (ON). Less than 0.3 kb of upstream 5' flanking sequence of the OMP gene directs lacZ expression preferentially to ON in several independently derived lines of transgenic mice. A larger transgene with 0.8 kb of upstream flanking sequence also gave lacZ expression in ON and in a few ectopic sites in the central nervous system (CNS). In addition to the main olfactory epithelium, endogenous OMP is also expressed in chemosensory neurons of the vomeronasal and septal organs, and lacZ expression was detected in neurons of these sites as well. This confirmed the presence of regulatory sequences in the proximal portion of the OMP gene. Endogenous OMP expression in ON was normal in all transgenic lines. Strikingly, in several transgenic lines lacZ expression was restricted to subsets of ON. In one such line, ON axons were intensely stained for lacZ and projected to a subset of olfactory bulb glomeruli. Although identifiable subsets of ON and their termination fields have been described previously, this is the first demonstration of this phenomenon in transgenic mice. These lines of transgenic mice thus provide in vivo models for characterization of genetic elements regulating developmental and functional organization of the olfactory neuroepithelium.