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Regulation of pheromone receptor genes in the mouse

English title Regulation of pheromone receptor genes in the mouse
Applicant Rodriguez Ivan
Number 108468
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Département de Génétique et Evolution Faculté des Sciences Université de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Genetics
Start/End 01.10.2005 - 30.09.2010
Approved amount 939'000.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Embryology, Developmental Biology
Molecular Biology

Keywords (5)

olfaction; neurons; gene regulation; pheromone perception; axon guidance

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
In most mammals, the olfactory system is responsible for very diverse tasks, such as food identification, predator detection, or gender discrimination. The use of this remarkable chemosensory tool is therefore necessary for both the survival of the individual, but also for that of the species.Olfactory perception is mediated by two functionally and anatomically distinct sensory systems: the main olfactory system, which allows the perception of odorants, and the vomeronasal system, which is critical for the detection of pheromones. Stimulus recognition by these two systems is achieved via seven-transmembrane odorant and vomeronasal receptors (ORs and VRs), collectively referred to as olfactory receptors. The very large size of these receptor gene repertoires and their complex genomic organization in clusters pose a formidable problem for the control of their expression, as each sensory neuron expresses only one of the receptor genes, from a single allele. This situation, outside the immune system, is unprecedented, and the regulatory mechanisms resulting in this strict gene expression are still unknown. Given the size and unusual expression of the olfactory receptor gene repertoire, completely novel mechanisms of gene regulation may be involved. A large VR gene family encoding pheromone receptors, termed V1R, is expressed in the vomeronasal sensory neuroepithelium of most mammals, and provides a model for the study of gene expression in the olfactory system. The research plan addresses the very challenging problem of VR gene regulation. Our unpublished observations indicate that in a given vomeronasal sensory neuron, the expressed V1R plays a crucial role in the inhibition of the other V1R genes. Our aim is to understand how this negative feedback is achieved, by using an in vivo genetic system allowing the visualization of the expression of defined V1R alleles. Our approaches are mainly based on the generation of transgenic animals bearing different allelic variants of specific V1R genes, and on the evaluation of their capacity to silence other V1R genes, or to be silenced by them.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
132919 Regulation of vomeronasal receptor genes in the mouse 01.10.2010 Project funding (Div. I-III)