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Brain Res. 1999 Aug 7;837(1-2):117-26.

Differential expression of G proteins in the mouse olfactory system.

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Department of Zoology, Box 7617, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7617, USA.


Transmembrane signaling events at the dendrites and axons of olfactory receptor neurons mediate distinct functions. Whereas odorant recognition and chemosensory transduction occur at the dendritic membranes of olfactory neurons, signal propagation, axon sorting and target innervation are functions of their axons. The roles of G proteins in transmembrane signaling at the dendrites have been studied extensively, but axonal G proteins have not been investigated in detail. We used immunohistochemistry to visualize expression of alpha subunits of G(o) and G(i2) in the mouse olfactory system. G(o) is expressed ubiquitously on axons of olfactory receptor neurons throughout the olfactory neuroepithelium and in virtually all glomeruli in the main olfactory bulb. In contrast, expression of G(i2) is restricted to a sub-population of olfactory neurons, along the dorsal septum and the dorsal recess of the nasal cavity, which projects primarily to medial regions of the olfactory bulb, with the exception of glomeruli adjacent to the pathway of the vomeronasal nerve. In contrast to the overlapping expression patterns of G(o) and G(i2) in the main olfactory system, neurons expressing G(o) and those expressing G(i2) in the accessory olfactory bulb are more clearly separated, in agreement with previous studies. Vomeronasal axons terminating in glomeruli in the rostral region of the accessory olfactory bulb express G(i2), whereas those projecting to the caudal region express G(o). Characterization of the expression patterns of G(i2) and G(o) in the olfactory projection is essential for future studies aimed at relating transmembrane signaling events to signal propagation, axon sorting and target innervation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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