Subzonal organization of olfactory sensory neurons projecting to distinct glomeruli within the mouse olfactory bulb

J Comp Neurol. 2003 Apr 7;458(3):209-20. doi: 10.1002/cne.10559.


Olfactory sensory neurons located in the nasal neuroepithelium send their axons directly into the olfactory bulb, where they contact the dendrites of second-order neurons in specialized spherical structures called glomeruli; each sensory neuron projects to a single glomerulus. All neurons expressing the same odorant receptor gene are confined to distinct zones within the epithelium and converge their axons onto a small number of common glomeruli. In the present study, we analyzed transgenic mouse lines in which the projection of a neuron population expressing a particular receptor gene can be visualized as a result of axonal markers that are coexpressed. The target glomeruli could thus reproducibly be identified and allowed to deposit retrograde tracers precisely. After an appropriate incubation time, olfactory sensory neurons within distinct areas of the olfactory epithelium were labeled. The two subpopulations of neurons retrogradely stained by differently colored fluorescent dyes deposited at the dorsal and the dorsomedial glomerulus, respectively, were found to be segregated within distinct areas of the expression zone, where the cells expressing the same receptor type displayed a stochastic distribution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbocyanines
  • Dendrites / metabolism
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure*
  • Galactosides
  • Genes, Reporter / genetics
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / metabolism
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Indoles
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Olfactory Bulb / cytology*
  • Olfactory Bulb / metabolism
  • Olfactory Pathways / cytology*
  • Olfactory Pathways / metabolism
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / cytology*
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / metabolism
  • Presynaptic Terminals / metabolism
  • Presynaptic Terminals / ultrastructure*
  • Receptors, Odorant / metabolism
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins


  • 3,3'-dihexadecylindocarbocyanine
  • Carbocyanines
  • Galactosides
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
  • Indoles
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Receptors, Odorant
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • 5-bromo-4-chloro-3-indolyl beta-galactoside