Expression of odorant receptors in spatially restricted subsets of chemosensory neurones

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FROM a rat olfactory library a cDNA clone (OR37) which is supposed to encode an odorant receptor protein has been isolated and characterized. Specific antisense RNA and in situ hybridization techniques have been employed to monitor the olfactory epithelium for the distribution of olfactory neurones expressing the OR37-gene. The OR37-transcripts were detected only in a subset of receptor cells segregated in two restricted areas of the olfactory epithelium. The clusters of reactive cells appear symmetrically in both nasal cavities. Within a reactive region only a subset of the cells expressed the receptor. The segregation of neurones expressing a distinct receptor supports the notion that a spatial component may be involved in coding odour quality.

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