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J Neurosci Res. 2008 Jan;86(1):11-7.

Olfactory axon guidance: the modified rules.

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


The olfactory system represents a complex model for the investigation of factors that influence the guidance of sensory axon populations to specific targets in the CNS. In the mouse, the projections of approximately 1,000 neuronal subsets, each defined by expression of a distinct odorant receptor (OR), converge at unique glomerular loci in the olfactory bulb (OB). Unlike the case in other sensory systems, proper guidance is achieved without benefit of any known cues in the target itself that are capable of attracting or repelling specific axons. It has long been argued that OR proteins are the critical molecules orchestrating guidance. However, recent studies suggest that axon identity may be dependent on the graded expression of a variety of unique olfactory axon guidance cues. This review focuses attention on these non-OR factors and their roles in olfactory axon guidance.

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