In vivo identification of eugenol-responsive and muscone- responsive mouse odorant receptors

Timothy S. McClintock, Kaylin Adipietro, William B. Titlow, Patrick Breheny, Andreas Walz, Peter Mombaerts, Hiroaki Matsunami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Our understanding of mammalian olfactory coding has been impeded by the paucity of information about the odorant receptors (ORs) that respond to a given odorant ligand in awake, freely behaving animals. Identifying the ORs that respond in vivo to a given odorant ligand from among the ∼1100 ORs in mice is intrinsically challenging but critical for our understanding of olfactory coding at the periphery. Here, we report an in vivo assay that is based on a novel gene-targeted mouse strain, S100a5–tauGFP, in which a fluorescent reporter selectively marks olfactory sensory neurons that have been activated recently in vivo. Because each olfactory sensory neuron expresses a single OR gene, multiple ORs responding to a given odorant ligand can be identified simultaneously by capturing the population of activated olfactory sensory neurons and using expression profiling methods to screen the repertoire of mouse OR genes. We used this in vivo assay to re-identify known eugenol- and muscone-responsive mouse ORs. We identified additional ORs responsive to eugenol or muscone. Heterologous expression assays confirmed nine eugenol-responsive ORs (Olfr73, Olfr178, Olfr432, Olfr610, Olfr958, Olfr960, Olfr961, Olfr913, and Olfr1234) and four muscone-responsive ORs (Olfr74, Olfr235, Olfr816, and Olfr1440). We found that the human ortholog of Olfr235 and Olfr1440 responds to macrocyclic ketone and lactone musk odorants but not to polycyclic musk odorants or a macrocyclic diester musk odorant. This novel assay, called the Kentucky in vivo odorant ligand–receptor assay, should facilitate the in vivo identification of mouse ORs for a given odorant ligand of interest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15669-15678
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number47
StatePublished - Nov 19 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 the authors.


  • Cell sorting
  • Expression profiling
  • G-protein coupled receptor
  • Odor detection
  • Olfaction
  • Sensory coding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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