Widespread ectopic expression of olfactory receptor genes

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Widespread ectopic expression of olfactory receptor genes

BioMed Central
  • Research Article


1471-2164-7-121.fm ral ss BioMed CentBMC Genomics Open AcceResearch article Widespread ectopic expression of olfactory receptor genes Ester Feldmesser1, Tsviya Olender1, Miriam Khen1, Itai Yanai1,3, Ron Ophir2 and Doron Lancet*1 Address: 1Department of Molecular Genetics, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel, 2Department of Biological Services, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel and 3Present address: Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA Email: Ester Feldmesser - [email protected]; Tsviya Olender - [email protected]; Miriam Khen - [email protected]; Itai Yanai - [email protected]; Ron Ophir - [email protected]; Doron Lancet* - [email protected] * Corresponding author Abstract Background: Olfactory receptors (ORs) are the largest gene family in the human genome. Although they are expected to be expressed specifically in olfactory tissues, some ectopic expression has been reported, with special emphasis on sperm and testis. The present study systematically explores the expression patterns of OR genes in a large number of tissues and assesses the potential functional implication of such ectopic expression. Results: We analyzed the expression of hundreds of human and mouse OR transcripts, via EST and microarray data, in several dozens of human and mouse tissues. Different tissues had specific, relatively small OR gene subsets which had particularly high expression levels. In testis, average expression was not particularly high, and very few highly expressed genes were found, none corresponding to ORs previously implicated in sperm chemotaxis. Higher expression levels were more common for genes with a non-OR genomic neighbor. Importantly, no correlation in expression levels was detected for human-mouse orthologous pairs. Also, no significant difference in expression levels was seen between intact and pseudogenized ORs, except for t

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