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Uncovering the functional constraints underlying the genomic organisation of the Odorant-Binding Protein genes
Librado Sanz, Pablo; Rozas Liras, Julio A.
Universitat de Barcelona
Animal olfactory systems have a critical role for the survival and reproduction of individuals. In insects, the odorant-binding proteins (OBPs) are encoded by a moderately sized gene family, and mediate the first steps of the olfactory processing. Most OBPs are organized in clusters of a few paralogs, which are conserved over time. Currently, the biological mechanism explaining the close physical proximity among OBPs is not yet established. Here, we conducted a comprehensive study aiming to gain insights into the mechanisms underlying the OBP genomic organization. We found that the OBP clusters are embedded within large conserved arrangements. These organizations also include other non-OBP genes, which often encode proteins integral to plasma membrane. Moreover, the conservation degree of such large clusters is related to the following: 1) the promoter architecture of the confined genes, 2) a characteristic transcriptional environment, and 3) the chromatin conformation of the chromosomal region. Our results suggest that chromatin domains may restrict the location of OBP genes to regions having the appropriate transcriptional environment, leading to the OBP cluster structure. However, the appropriate transcriptional environment for OBP and the other neighbor genes is not dominated by reduced levels of expression noise. Indeed, the stochastic fluctuations in the OBP transcript abundance may have a critical role in the combinatorial nature of the olfactory coding process.
Genètica del desenvolupament
Developmental genetics
cc-by-nc (c) Librado Sanz, Pablo et al., 2013
Oxford University Press

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