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Mol Cell Biol. 1993 September; 13(9): 5805–5813.
PMCID: PMC360324

Genes encoding components of the olfactory signal transduction cascade contain a DNA binding site that may direct neuronal expression.


Genes which mediate odorant signal transduction are expressed at high levels in neurons of the olfactory epithelium. The molecular mechanism governing the restricted expression of these genes likely involves tissue-specific DNA binding proteins which coordinately activate transcription through sequence-specific interactions with olfactory promoter regions. We have identified binding sites for the olfactory neuron-specific transcription factor, Olf-1, in the sequences surrounding the transcriptional initiation site of five olfactory neuron-specific genes. The Olf-1 binding sites described define the consensus sequence YTCCCYRGGGAR. In addition, we have identified a second binding site, the U site, in the olfactory cyclic nucleotide gated channel and type III cyclase promoters, which binds factors present in all tissue examined. These experiments support a model in which expression of Olf-1 in the sensory neurons coordinately activates a set of olfactory neuron-specific genes. Furthermore, expression of a subset of these genes may be modulated by additional binding factors.

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