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J Cell Physiol. 2007 Feb;210(2):290-7.

Patterning the developing and regenerating olfactory system.

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  • 1Shriver Center and Department of Cell Biology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts 02452, USA.


The olfactory system is a remarkable model for investigating the factors that influence the guidance of sensory axon populations to specific targets in the CNS. Since the initial discovery of the vast odorant receptor (ORs) gene family in rodents and the subsequent finding that these molecules directly influence targeting, several additional olfactory axon guidance cues have been identified. Two of these, ephrins and semaphorins, have well-established functions in patterning axon connections in other systems. In addition, lactosamine-containing glycans are also required for proper targeting and maintenance of olfactory axons, and may also function in other sensory regions. It is now apparent that these and likely other additional molecules are required along with ORs to orchestrate the complex pattern of convergence and divergence that is unique to the olfactory system.

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