During development of the primary olfactory projection, olfactory receptor axons must sort by odor specificity and seek particular sites in the brain in which to create odor-specific glomeruli. In the moth Manduca sexta, we showed previously that fasciclin II, a cell adhesion molecule in the immunoglobulin superfamily, is expressed by the axons of a subset of olfactory receptor neurons during development and that, in a specialized glia-rich "sorting zone," these axons segregate from nonfasciclin II-expressing axons before entering the neuropil of the glomerular layer. The segregation into fasciclin II-positive fascicles is dependent on the presence of the glial cells in the sorting zone. Here, we explore the expression patterns for different isoforms of Manduca fasciclin II in the developing olfactory system. We find that olfactory receptor axons express transmembrane fasciclin II during the period of axonal ingrowth and glomerulus development. Fascicles of TM-fasciclin II+ axons target certain glomeruli and avoid others, such as the sexually dimorphic glomeruli. These results suggest that TM-fasciclin II may play a role in the sorting and guidance of the axons. GPI-linked forms of fasciclin II are expressed weakly by glial cells associated with the receptor axons before they reach the sorting zone, but not by sorting-zone glia. GPI-fasciclin II may, therefore, be involved in axon-glia interactions related to stabilization of axons in the nerve, but probably not related to sorting.
Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science (USA).