Formation of precise connections in the olfactory bulb occurs in the absence of odorant-evoked neuronal activity

Neuron. 2000 Apr;26(1):69-80. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(00)81139-3.


Olfactory neurons expressing the same odorant receptor converge to a small number of glomeruli in the olfactory bulb. In turn, mitral and tufted cells receive and relay this information to higher cortical regions. In other sensory systems, correlated neuronal activity is thought to refine synaptic connections during development. We asked whether the pattern of connections between olfactory sensory axons and mitral cell dendrites is affected when odor-evoked signaling is eliminated in mice lacking functional olfactory cyclic nucleotide-gated (CNG) channels. We demonstrate that olfactory sensory axons converge normally in the CNG channel mutant background. We further show that the pruning of mitral cell dendrites, although slowed during development, is ultimately unperturbed in mutant animals. Thus, the olfactory CNG channel-and by inference correlated neural activity--is not required for generating synaptic specificity in the olfactory bulb.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Cation Channels
  • Dendrites / physiology*
  • Ion Channels / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Olfactory Bulb / growth & development*
  • Olfactory Mucosa / embryology
  • Olfactory Mucosa / physiology*
  • Receptors, Odorant / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*


  • Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Cation Channels
  • Ion Channels
  • Receptors, Odorant