Postnatal Refinement of Peripheral Olfactory Projections

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Axonal projections from the olfactory epithelium to the olfactory bulb are organized into glomeruli according to the expressed odorant receptor. Using gene-targeted mice, we show that glomerular maturation proceeds along different time courses for two similar receptors and requires sensory input during distinct sensitive periods. During early development, some glomeruli are innervated by axons of neurons that do not express the same receptor. These heterogeneous glomeruli normally disappear with age, but they persist in adults deprived of sensory input by unilateral and permanent naris closure. Persistence may be due, in part, to prolonged survival of olfactory sensory neurons.

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