Authors: Shah, Ami; Ratkowski, Madison; Rosa, Alessandro; Feinstein, Paul; Bozza, Thomas
Issue: Nat Commun. 2021 Jun 18;12(1):3797.
Olfactory sensory neurons express a large family of odorant receptors (ORs) and a small family of trace amine-associated receptors (TAARs). While both families are subject to so-called singular expression (expression of one allele of one gene), the mechanisms underlying TAAR gene choice remain obscure. Here, we report the identification of two conserved sequence elements in the mouse TAAR cluster (T-elements) that are required for TAAR gene expression. We observed that cell-type-specific expression of a TAAR-derived transgene required either T-element. Moreover, deleting either element reduced or abolished expression of a subset of TAAR genes, while deleting both elements abolished olfactory expression of all TAARs in cis with the mutation. The T-elements exhibit several features of known OR enhancers but also contain highly conserved, unique sequence motifs. Our data demonstrate that TAAR gene expression requires two cooperative cis-acting enhancers and suggest that ORs and TAARs share similar mechanisms of singular expression.