Function of family-C V2R genes: an integrated analysis of ΔV2R-C mice
The mouse olfactory system (sense of smell) consists of a main olfactory system and a vomeronasal system. Olfactory sensory neurons in the main olfactory system mediate the ‚general’ detection of odorants. Vomeronasal sensory neurons are thought to be specialized in the detection of pheromones – chemical cues that mediate a variety of innate olfactory-driven behaviors. Basal vomeronasal sensory neurons express two subtypes of vomeronasal receptor-2 genes: one gene from family-ABD together with one gene from family-C, which is a family of seven homologous genes. We here propose to elucidate the in vivo function of the family-C V2R genes, by integrated analysis of a novel strain of ΔV2R-C mice, in which the genomic region encompassing these seven genes has been deleted by chromosome engineering. Anatomical, molecular, physiological, and behavioral experiments are proposed between the two participating laboratories. We will test the hypothesis that family-C V2R gene expression is required for development, function, or survival of these neurons, possibly by molecular interactions with family-ABD V2R receptors.