Individual glomeruli in the mammalian olfactory bulb presumably represent a single type of odourant receptor. Thus, the glomerular sheet provides odourant receptor maps at the surface of the olfactory bulb. To understand the basic spatial organization of the olfactory sensory maps, we first compared the spatial distribution of odourant-induced responses measured by the optical imaging of intrinsic signals with that detected immunohistochemically by expressions of Zif268, one of the immediate early gene products in juxtaglomerular cells. In the dorsal surface of the bulb, we detected a clear correlation in the spatial pattern between these responses. In addition, the molecular-feature domains and their polarities (spatial shifts of responses with an increase in carbon chain length) that were defined by the optical imaging method could be also detected by the Zif268 mapping method. We then mapped the Zif268 signals over the entire olfactory bulb using a homologous series of fatty acids and aliphatic alcohols as stimulus odourants. We superimposed the Zif268 signals onto the standard unrolled map with the help of cell adhesion molecule compartments. Each odourant typically elicited two pairs of clusters of dense Zif268 signals. The results showed that molecular-feature domains and their polarities were arranged symmetrically at stereotypical positions in a mirror-image fashion between the lateral and the medial sensory maps. The polarity of each domain was roughly in parallel with the posterodorsal-anteroventral axis that was defined by the cell adhesion molecule compartments. These results suggest that the molecular-feature domain with its fixed polarity is one of the basic structural units in the spatial organization of the odourant receptor maps in the olfactory bulb.