The basic scheme of odor perception and signaling from olfactory cilia to the brain is well understood. However, factors that affect olfactory acuity of an animal, the threshold sensitivity to odorants, are less well studied. Using signal sequence trap screening of a mouse olfactory epithelium cDNA library, we identified a novel molecule, Goofy, that is essential for olfactory acuity in mice. Goofy encodes an integral membrane protein with specific expression in the olfactory and vomeronasal sensory neurons and predominant localization to the Golgi compartment. Goofy-deficient mice display aberrant olfactory phenotypes, including the impaired trafficking of adenylyl cyclase III, stunted olfactory cilia, and a higher threshold for physiological and behavioral responses to odorants. In addition, the expression of dominant-negative form of cAMP-dependent protein kinase results in shortening of olfactory cilia, implying a possible mechanistic link between cAMP and ciliogenesis in the olfactory sensory neurons. These results demonstrate that Goofy plays an important role in establishing the acuity of olfactory sensory signaling.
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