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J Comp Neurol. 2006 Jan 10;494(2):358-67.

Cytoskeletal organization of the developing mouse olfactory nerve layer.

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Interdepartmental Neuroscience Graduate Program, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


Olfactory sensory neuron (OSN) axonal extension and targeting occur within the olfactory nerve layer (ONL) of the olfactory bulb (OB). The ONL can be differentiated into sublaminae: the outer (ONLo), where axons broadly target regions of the OB in tight fascicles, and inner (ONLi), where axons perform final targeting in loosely organized fascicles. During perinatal development, cadherin-2 and its binding partner, gamma-catenin, are preferentially expressed by OSN axons in the ONLo vs. the ONLi. Given the expression of these cytoskeleton-associated molecules, we hypothesized that cytoskeletal elements of OSN axons may be differentially expressed across the ONL. We therefore examined cytoskeletal organization of OSN axons in the ONL, focusing on the day of birth (P0). We show that microfilaments, microtubules, and the intermediate filament (IF) vimentin are homogeneously expressed across the ONL at P0. In contrast, the IFs peripherin and alpha-internexin are preferentially localized to the ONLo at P0, with alpha-internexin expressed by a restricted subset of OSNs. We also show that OSN axons in the ONLo are significantly smaller than those in the ONLi. The data demonstrate that, as OSN axons begin to exit the ONLo and target a specific region of the OB, there is a down-regulation of cytoskeletal elements and bound extracellular adhesion molecules. The increase in axon diameter may reflect additional mechanisms involved in glomerular targeting or the formation of the large terminal boutons of OSN axons within glomeruli.

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