The mammalian Olfactory System is composed of several subsystems located in the nasal cavity. Among them, the most important are the Main Olfactory System and the Acessory or Vomeronasal Olfactory System. Each subsystem expresses a particular set of receptors, along with signal transduction molecules and other markers. It has been described that receptors in the OR family are expressed in the Main Olfactory System, being absent or expressed at low levels in the Vomeronasal Organ, which is responsible for the detection of pheromones and other comunication molecules. However, our recent VNO RNA sequencing data (RNAseq) have shown high expression levels of some OR receptors, such as Olfr124, Olfr692 and Olfr1509 in this sensory organ. In the current project, we intend to better understand the function of these receptors in the VNO, through the characterization of their spatial and temporal expression profiles in olfactory sensory cells and the underlying molecular logic. We will also investigate the genomic structure of genes coding for these receptors and their promoter regions, in order no comprehend their unusual expression profile outside the Main Olfactory System. These data will allow better understanding of the sensory role of the OR receptors in the VNO.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: