STOP proteins contribute to the maturation of the olfactory system

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Regulation of microtubule dynamics is crucial for axon growth and guidance as well as for the establishment of synaptic connections. STOPs (Stable Tubule Only Polypeptides) are microtubule-associated proteins that regulate microtubule stabilization but are also able to interact with actin or Golgi membranes. Here, we have investigated the involvement of STOPs during the development of the olfactory system. We first describe the spatio-temporal expression patterns of N- and E-STOP, the two neuronal-specific isoforms of STOP. E- and N-STOP are expressed in the axonal compartment of olfactory sensory neurons, but are differentially regulated during development. Interestingly, each neuronal isoform displays a specific gradient distribution within the olfactory nerve layer. Then, we have examined the development of the olfactory system in the absence of STOPs. Olfactory axons display a normal outgrowth and targeting in STOP-null mice, but maturation of the synapses in the glomerular neuropil is altered.

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