Expression of Homeobox Genes in the Mouse Olfactory Epithelium

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Homeobox genes constitute a large family of genes widely studied because of their role in the establishment of the body pattern. However, they are also involved in many other events during development and adulthood. The main olfactory epithelium (MOE) is an excellent model to study neurogenesis in the adult nervous system. Analyses of homeobox genes during development show that some of these genes are involved in the formation and establishment of cell diversity in the MOE. Moreover, the mechanisms of expression of odorant receptors (ORs) constitute one of the biggest enigmas in the field. Analyses of OR promoters revealed the presence of homeodomain binding sites in their sequences. Here we characterize the expression patterns of a set of 49 homeobox genes in the MOE with in situ hybridization. We found that seven of them (Dlx3, Dlx5, Dlx6, Msx1, Meis1, Isl1, and Pitx1) are zonally expressed. The homeobox gene Emx1 is expressed in three guanylate cyclase+ populations, two located in the MOE and the third one in an olfactory subsystem known as Grüneberg ganglion located at the entrance of the nasal cavity. The homeobox gene Tshz1 is expressed in a unique patchy pattern across the MOE. Our findings provide new insights to guide functional studies that aim to understand the complexity of transcription factor expression and gene regulation in the MOE. J. Comp. Neurol. 524:2713–2739, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.Using in situ hybridization analyses, the authors characterize the expression pattern of 37 homeobox genes expressed in the mouse main olfactory epithelium. Nine of them show particular expression patterns which make them candidates to analyze their role in neurogenesis and differentiation in the olfactory epithelium.

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