Olfactory receptor accessory proteins play crucial roles in receptor function and gene choice.
Each of the olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) chooses to express a single G protein-coupled olfactory receptor (OR) from a pool of hundreds. Here, we show the receptor transporting protein (RTP) family members play a dual role in both normal OR trafficking and determining OR gene choice probabilities. Rtp1 and Rtp2 double knockout mice (RTP1,2DKO) show OR trafficking defects and decreased OSN activation. Surprisingly, we discovered a small subset of the ORs are expressed in larger numbers of OSNs despite the presence of fewer total OSNs in RTP1,2DKO. Unlike typical ORs, some overrepresented ORs show robust cell surface expression in heterologous cells without the co-expression of RTPs. We present a model in which developing OSNs exhibit unstable OR expression until they choose to express an OR that exits the ER or undergo cell death. Our study sheds light on the new link between OR protein trafficking and OR transcriptional regulation.
Sharma, R; Ishimaru, Y; Davison, I; Ikegami, K; Chien, M-S; You, H; Chi, Q; Kubota, M; Yohda, M; Ehlers, M; Matsunami, H
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