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Cell. 2006 Dec 1;127(5):1057-69.

A neuronal identity code for the odorant receptor-specific and activity-dependent axon sorting.

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Department of Biophysics and Biochemistry, Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-0032, Japan.


In the mouse, olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) expressing the same odorant receptor (OR) converge their axons to a specific set of glomeruli in the olfactory bulb. To study how OR-instructed axonal fasciculation is controlled, we searched for genes whose expression profiles are correlated with the expressed ORs. Using the transgenic mouse in which the majority of OSNs express a particular OR, we identified such genes coding for the homophilic adhesive molecules Kirrel2/Kirrel3 and repulsive molecules ephrin-A5/EphA5. In the CNGA2 knockout mouse, where the odor-evoked cation influx is disrupted, Kirrel2 and EphA5 were downregulated, while Kirrel3 and ephrin-A5 were upregulated, indicating that these genes are transcribed in an activity-dependent manner. Mosaic analysis demonstrated that gain of function of these genes generates duplicated glomeruli. We propose that a specific set of adhesive/repulsive molecules, whose expression levels are determined by OR molecules, regulate the axonal fasciculation of OSNs during the process of glomerular map formation.

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