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Commun Biol August 7, 2019; 2 296.
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Bcl11b controls odorant receptor class choice in mice.

Enomoto T , Nishida H , Iwata T , Fujita A , Nakayama K , Kashiwagi T , Hatanaka Y , Kondo H , Kajitani R , Itoh T , Ohmoto M , Matsumoto I , Hirota J .

Each olfactory sensory neuron (OSN) expresses a single odorant receptor (OR) gene from the class I or class II repertoire in mice. The mechanisms that regulate OR class choice in OSNs remain unknown. Here, we show that the transcription factor Bcl11b determines the OR class to be expressed in OSNs. Both loss- and gain-of-function analyses demonstrate that class I is a default fate of OSNs and that Bcl11b dictates a class II OR choice by suppressing the effect of the J-element, a class I-OR enhancer. We further demonstrate that OSN-specific genetic manipulations of Bcl11b bias the OR class choice, generating mice with "class I-dominant" and "class II-dominant" noses, which display contrasting innate olfactory behaviors to two distinct aversive odorants. Overall, these findings reveal a unique transcriptional mechanism mediating a binary switch for OR class choice that is crucial to both the anatomical and functional organization of the olfactory system.

PubMed ID: 31396576
PMC ID: PMC6685970
Article link: Commun Biol

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: bcl11b egr1 gap43 neurod1

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References [+] :
Avram, Isolation of a novel family of C(2)H(2) zinc finger proteins implicated in transcriptional repression mediated by chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter transcription factor (COUP-TF) orphan nuclear receptors. 2000, Pubmed