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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The central pathway of primary olfactory axons is abnormal in mice lacking the N-CAM-180 isoform.

Although N-CAM has previously been implicated in the growth and fasciculation of axons, the development of axon tracts in transgenic mice with a targeted deletion of the 180-kD isoform of the neural cell adhesion molecule (N-CAM-180) appears grossly normal in comparison to wild-type mice. We examined the organization of the olfactory nerve projection from the olfactory neuroepithelium to glomeruli in the olfactory bulb of postnatal N-CAM-180 null mutant mice. Immunostaining for olfactory marker protein revealed the normal presence of fully mature primary olfactory neurons within the olfactory neuroepithelium of mutant mice. The axons of these neurons form an olfactory nerve, enter the nerve fiber layer of the olfactory bulb, and terminate in olfactory glomeruli as in wild-type control animals. The olfactory bulb is smaller and the nerve fiber layer is relatively thicker in mutants than in wild-type mice. Previous studies have revealed that the plant lectin Dolichos biflorus agglutinin (DBA) clearly stains the perikarya and axons of a subpopulation of primary olfactory neurons. Thus, DBA staining enabled the morphology of the olfactory nerve pathway to be examined at higher resolution in both control and mutant animals. Despite a normal spatial pattern of DBA-stained neurons within the nasal cavity, there was a distorted axonal projection of these neurons onto the surface of the olfactory bulb in N-CAM-180 null mutants. In particular, DBA-stained axons formed fewer and smaller glomeruli in the olfactory bulbs of mutants in comparison to wild-type mice. Many primary olfactory axons failed to exit the nerve fiber layer and contribute to glomerular formation. These results indicate that N-CAM-180 plays an important role in the growth and fasciculation of primary olfactory axons and is essential for normal development of olfactory glomeruli.[1]


  1. The central pathway of primary olfactory axons is abnormal in mice lacking the N-CAM-180 isoform. Treloar, H., Tomasiewicz, H., Magnuson, T., Key, B. J. Neurobiol. (1997) [Pubmed]
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