Sex separation induces differences in the olfactory sensory receptor repertoires of male and female mice. Academic Article uri icon


  • Within the mammalian olfactory sensory epithelium, experience-dependent changes in the rate of neuronal turnover can alter the relative abundance of neurons expressing specific chemoreceptors. Here we investigate how the mouse olfactory sensory receptor repertoire changes as a function of exposure to odors emitted from members of the opposite sex, which are highly complex and sexually dimorphic. Upon housing mice either sex-separated or sex-combined until six months of age, we find that sex-separated mice exhibit significantly more numerous differentially expressed genes within their olfactory epithelia. A subset of these chemoreceptors exhibit altered expression frequencies following both sex-separation and olfactory deprivation. We show that several of these receptors detect either male- or female-specific odors. We conclude that the distinct odor experiences of sex-separated male and female mice induce sex-specific differences in the abundance of neurons that detect sexually dimorphic odors.

publication date

  • December 4, 2018