Developmental dynamics : an official publication of the American Association of Anatomists

Dynamic expression patterns of ECM molecules in the developing mouse olfactory pathway.

PMID 18570250


Olfactory sensory neuron (OSN) axons follow stereotypic spatio-temporal paths in the establishment of the olfactory pathway. Extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules are expressed early in the developing pathway and are proposed to have a role in its initial establishment. During later embryonic development, OSNs sort out and target specific glomeruli to form precise, complex topographic projections. We hypothesized that ECM cues may help to establish this complex topography. The aim of this study was to characterize expression of ECM molecules during the period of glomerulogenesis, when synaptic contacts are forming. We examined expression of laminin-1, perlecan, tenascin-C, and CSPGs and found a coordinated pattern of expression of these cues in the pathway. These appear to restrict axons to the pathway while promoting axon outgrowth within. Thus, ECM molecules are present in dynamic spatio-temporal positions to affect OSN axons as they navigate to the olfactory bulb and establish synapses.