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Abstract

To study the mutually exclusive expression of odorant receptor (OR) genes, we generated transgenic mice that carried the murine OR gene MOR28. Expression of the transgene and the endogenous MOR28 was distinguished by using two different markers, β-galactosidase and green fluorescent protein (GFP), respectively. Double staining of the olfactory epithelium revealed that the two genes were rarely expressed simultaneously in individual olfactory neurons. A similar exclusion was also observed between differently tagged but identical transgenes integrated into the same locus of one particular chromosome. Although allelic inactivation has been reported for the choice between the maternal and paternal alleles, this is the first demonstration of mutually exclusive activation among non-allelic OR gene members with identical coding and regulatory sequences. Such an unusual mode of gene expression, monoallelic and mutually exclusive, has previously been shown only for the antigen-receptor genes of the immune system.

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Acknowledgements

We thank the following people for providing us with plasmid samples or cell lines: H. Gu (pGH-1), P. Soriano (pPGKneobpA), T. Yagi (DT-A cassette), J. Thomas (tau–lacZ cassette), K. Moriyoshi (pGAP–GFP), A. Nagy (R1 cells) and I. Saito (adenovirus vector). This work was supported by the Special Promotion Research Grants from the Ministry of Education and Culture of Japan and by grants from Toray Science Foundation, Nissan Science Foundation and Mitsubishi Foundation.

Author information

Author notes

    • Shou Serizawa
    •  & Tomohiro Ishii

    The first two authors contributed equally to this work.

Affiliations

  1. Department of Biophysics and Biochemistry, Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-0032 , Japan

    • Shou Serizawa
    • , Tomohiro Ishii
    • , Hiroko Nakatani
    • , Akio Tsuboi
    • , Fumikiyo Nagawa
    •  & Hitoshi Sakano
  2. Center for Experimental Medicine, Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 108-8639, Japan

    • Masahide Asano
    • , Katsuko Sudo
    • , Junko Sakagami
    •  & Yoichiro Iwakura
  3. Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, The University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California 94720-3200, USA

    • Hitomi Sakano
  4. Laboratory of Cytogenetics, Division of Bioscience, Graduate School of Environmental Earth Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan

    • Takashi Ijiri
    •  & Yoichi Matsuda
  5. Center for Animal Resources and Development, Kumamoto University, Kumamoto 862-0976, Japan

    • Misao Suzuki
  6. Division of Speciation Mechanisms I, National Institute for Basic Biology, Okazaki 444-8585, Japan

    • Tetsuo Yamamori

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Correspondence to Hitoshi Sakano.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/76641

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