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Letters to Nature
Nature 355, 453 - 455 (30 January 2002); doi:10.1038/355453a0

Expression of members of the putative olfactory receptor gene family in mammalian germ cells

Marc Parmentier*, Frédéric Libert*, Stéphane  Schurmans*, Serge Schiffmann, Anne  Lefort*, Dominique Eggerickx*, Catherine  Ledent*, Catherine Mollereau, Catherine Gérard*, Jason  Perret*, Anton Grootegoed§ & Gilbert  Vassart*

*IRIBHN and || Service de Genetique and t Laboratoire de Recherche sur lesneuropeptides, Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Campus Erasme, 808 route deLennik, 1070 Bruxelles, Belgium
Service de Genetique and t Laboratoire de Recherche sur les neuropeptides, Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Campus Erasme, 808 route de Lennik, 1070 Bruxelles,Belgium
Laboratoire de Pharmacologie et de Toxicologie fondamentale du CNRS, 205 route de Narbonne, 31077 Toulouse, France
§Department of Endocrinology and Reproduction, Medical Faculty, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Laboratoire de Recherche sur les neuropeptides, Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Campus Erasme, 808 route de Lennik, 1070 Bruxelles, Belgium

A SERIES of genomic and complementary DNA clones encoding new putative members of G protein-coupled receptors were isolated using homology cloning and low-stringency polymerase chain reaction1,2. Among the unidentified receptors ('orphan receptors'), a human genomic clone (HGMP07) was characterized by the presence of its transcripts in the testis and by its belonging to a large subfamily of genes sharing extensive sequence similarities. Sequence comparison demonstrated that this gene subfamily is the human counterpart of the putative rat olfactory receptors cloned recently3. Another 48 members of the family were cloned. Northern blotting further demonstrated the presence of olfactory receptor transcripts in germ cells. Our finding suggests that a common receptor gene family encodes olfactory receptors and sperm cell receptors that could be involved in chemotaxis during fertilization.

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