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Charles A Greer - Top 30 Publications

The Laminar Organization of Piriform Cortex Follows a Selective Developmental and Migratory Program Established by Cell Lineage.

Piriform cortex (PC) is a 3-layer paleocortex receiving primary afferent input from the olfactory bulb. The past decade has seen significant progress in understanding the synaptic, cellular and functional organization of PC, but PC embryogenesis continues to be enigmatic. Here, using birthdating strategies and clonal analyses, we probed the early development and laminar specificity of neurogenesis/gliogenesis as it relates to the organization of the PC. Our data demonstrate a temporal sequence of laminar-specific neurogenesis following the canonical "inside-out" pattern, with the notable exception of PC Layer II which exhibited an inverse "outside-in" temporal neurogenic pattern. Of interest, we found no evidence of a neurogenic gradient along the anterior to posterior axis, although the timing of neuronal migration and laminar development was delayed rostrally by approximately 24 h. To begin probing if lineage affected cell fate in the PC, we labeled PC neuroblasts using a multicolor technique and analyzed their laminar organization. Our results suggested that PC progenitors were phenotypically committed to reach specific layers early in the development. Collectively, these studies shed new light on the determinants of the laminar specificity of neuronal/glial organization in PC and the likely role of subpopulations of committed progenitors in regulating PC embryogenesis.

CNS Neurons Deposit Laminin α5 to Stabilize Synapses.

Synapses in the developing brain are structurally dynamic but become stable by early adulthood. We demonstrate here that an α5-subunit-containing laminin stabilizes synapses during this developmental transition. Hippocampal neurons deposit laminin α5 at synapses during adolescence as connections stabilize. Disruption of laminin α5 in neurons causes dramatic fluctuations in dendritic spine head size that can be rescued by exogenous α5-containing laminin. Conditional deletion of laminin α5 in vivo increases dendritic spine size and leads to an age-dependent loss of synapses accompanied by behavioral defects. Remaining synapses have larger postsynaptic densities and enhanced neurotransmission. Finally, we provide evidence that laminin α5 acts through an integrin α3β1-Abl2 kinase-p190RhoGAP signaling cascade and partners with laminin β2 to regulate dendritic spine density and behavior. Together, our results identify laminin α5 as a stabilizer of dendritic spines and synapses in the brain and elucidate key cellular and molecular mechanisms by which it acts.

5HTR3A-driven GFP labels immature olfactory sensory neurons.

The ionotropic serotonin receptor, 5-HT3 , is expressed by many developing neurons within the central nervous system. Since the olfactory epithelium continues to generate new olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) throughout life, we investigated the possibility that 5-HT3 is expressed in the adult epithelium. Using a transgenic mouse in which the promoter for the 5-HT3a subunit drives expression of green fluorescent protein (GFP), we assessed the expression of this marker in the olfactory epithelium of adult mice. Both the native 5-HT3a mRNA and GFP are expressed within globose basal cells of the olfactory and vomeronasal epithelium in adult mice. Whereas the 5-HT3a mRNA disappears relatively quickly after final cell division, the GFP label persists for about 5 days, thereby labeling immature OSNs in both the main olfactory system and vomeronasal organ. The GFP-labeled cells include both proliferative globose basal cells as well as immature OSNs exhibiting the hallmarks of ongoing differentiation including GAP43, PGP9.5, but the absence of olfactory marker protein. Some of the GFP-labeled OSNs show characteristics of more mature yet still developing OSNs including the presence of cilia extending from the apical knob and expression of NaV1.5, a component of the transduction cascade. These findings suggest that 5-HT3a is indicative of a proliferative or developmental state, regardless of age, and that the 5-HT3A GFP mice may prove useful for future studies of neurogenesis in the olfactory epithelium. J. Comp. Neurol. 525:1743-1755, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

RNA-seq analysis of developing olfactory bulb projection neurons.

Transmission of olfactory information to higher brain regions is mediated by olfactory bulb (OB) projection neurons, the mitral and tufted cells. Although mitral/tufted cells are often characterized as the OB counterpart of cortical projection neurons (also known as pyramidal neurons), they possess several unique morphological characteristics and project specifically to the olfactory cortices. Moreover, the molecular networks contributing to the generation of mitral/tufted cells during development are largely unknown. To understand the developmental patterns of gene expression in mitral/tufted cells in the OB, we performed transcriptome analyses targeting purified OB projection neurons at different developmental time points with next-generation RNA sequencing (RNA-seq). Through these analyses, we found 1202 protein-coding genes that are temporally differentially-regulated in developing projection neurons. Among them, 388 genes temporally changed their expression level only in projection neurons. The data provide useful resource to study the molecular mechanisms regulating development of mitral/tufted cells. We further compared the gene expression profiles of developing mitral/tufted cells with those of three cortical projection neuron subtypes, subcerebral projection neurons, corticothalamic projection neurons, and callosal projection neurons, and found that the molecular signature of developing olfactory projection neuron bears resemblance to that of subcerebral neurons. We also identified 3422 events that change the ratio of splicing isoforms in mitral/tufted cells during maturation. Interestingly, several genes expressed a novel isoform not previously reported. These results provide us with a broad perspective of the molecular networks underlying the development of OB projection neurons.

Odorant receptors regulate the final glomerular coalescence of olfactory sensory neuron axons.

Odorant receptors (OR) are strongly implicated in coalescence of olfactory sensory neuron (OSN) axons and the formation of olfactory bulb (OB) glomeruli. However, when ORs are first expressed relative to basal cell division and OSN axon extension is unknown. We developed an in vivo fate-mapping strategy that enabled us to follow OSN maturation and axon extension beginning at basal cell division. In parallel, we mapped the molecular development of OSNs beginning at basal cell division, including the onset of OR expression. Our data show that ORs are first expressed around 4 d following basal cell division, 24 h after OSN axons have reached the OB. Over the next 6+ days the OSN axons navigate the OB nerve layer and ultimately coalesce in glomeruli. These data provide a previously unidentified perspective on the role of ORs in homophilic OSN axon adhesion and lead us to propose a new model dividing axon extension into two phases. Phase I is OR-independent and accounts for up to 50% of the time during which axons approach the OB and begin navigating the olfactory nerve layer. Phase II is OR-dependent and concludes as OSN axons coalesce in glomeruli.

Voltage-dependent K+ currents contribute to heterogeneity of olfactory ensheathing cells.

The olfactory nerve is permissive for axon growth throughout life. This has been attributed in part to the olfactory ensheathing glial cells that encompass the olfactory sensory neuron fascicles. Olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) also promote axon growth in vitro and when transplanted in vivo to sites of injury. The mechanisms involved remain largely unidentified owing in part to the limited knowledge of the physiological properties of ensheathing cells. Glial cells rely for many functions on the properties of the potassium channels expressed; however, those expressed in ensheathing cells are unknown. Here we show that OECs express voltage-dependent potassium currents compatible with inward rectifier (Kir ) and delayed rectifier (KDR ) channels. Together with gap junction coupling, these contribute to the heterogeneity of membrane properties observed in OECs. The relevance of K(+) currents expressed by ensheathing cells is discussed in relation to plasticity of the olfactory nerve.

Dendrodendritic synapses in the mouse olfactory bulb external plexiform layer.

Odor information relayed by olfactory bulb projection neurons, mitral and tufted cells (M/T), is modulated by pairs of reciprocal dendrodendritic synaptic circuits in the external plexiform layer (EPL). Interneurons, which are accounted for largely by granule cells, receive depolarizing input from M/T dendrites and in turn inhibit current spread in M/T dendrites via hyperpolarizing reciprocal dendrodendritic synapses. Because the location of dendrodendritic synapses may significantly affect the cascade of odor information, we assessed synaptic properties and density within sublaminae of the EPL and along the length of M/T secondary dendrites. In electron micrographs the M/T to granule cell synapse appeared to predominate and was equivalent in both the outer and inner EPL. However, the dendrodendritic synapses from granule cell spines onto M/T dendrites were more prevalent in the outer EPL. In contrast, individual gephyrin-immunoreactive (IR) puncta, a postsynaptic scaffolding protein at inhibitory synapses used here as a proxy for the granule to M/T dendritic synapse was equally distributed throughout the EPL. Of significance to the organization of intrabulbar circuits, gephyrin-IR synapses are not uniformly distributed along M/T secondary dendrites. Synaptic density, expressed as a function of surface area, increases distal to the cell body. Furthermore, the distributions of gephyrin-IR puncta are heterogeneous and appear as clusters along the length of the M/T dendrites. Consistent with computational models, our data suggest that temporal coding in M/T cells is achieved by precisely located inhibitory input and that distance from the soma is compensated for by an increase in synaptic density.

Segregated labeling of olfactory bulb projection neurons based on their birthdates.

Mitral and tufted cells are the projection neurons of the olfactory bulb (OB). We previously reported that somata location and innervation patterns were different between early- and late-born mitral cells (Imamura et al., 2011). Here, we introduced a plasmid that drives the expression of a GFP gene into the mouse OB using in utero electroporation, and demonstrated that we can deliver the plasmid vectors into distinct subsets of OB projection neurons by changing the timing of electroporation after fertilisation. The electroporation performed at embryonic day (E)10 preferentially labeled mitral cells in the accessory OB and main OB mitral cells in dorsomedial mitral cell layer (MCL). In contrast, the E12 electroporation introduced the plasmid vectors preferentially into main OB mitral cells in the ventrolateral MCL and tufted cells. Combining these data with BrdU injections, we confirmed that E10 and E12 electroporation preferentially labeled early- and late-born projection neurons, respectively. This work introduces a novel method for segregated labeling of mouse olfactory bulb projection neurons based on their birthdates. With this technique we found that early- and late-born projection neurons extend their secondary dendrites in the deep and superficial external plexiform layer (EPL), respectively. Although a similar segregation has been suggested for mitral vs. tufted cell dendrites, we found mitral cells projecting secondary dendrites into the superficial EPL in E12-electroporated main OB. Our observations indicate that timing of neurogenesis regulates not only somata location and innervation patterns but also the laminar organisation of projection neuron dendrites in the EPL.

Nonsensory target-dependent organization of piriform cortex.

The piriform cortex (PCX) is the largest component of the olfactory cortex and is hypothesized to be the locus of odor object formation. The distributed odorant representation found in PCX contrasts sharply with the topographical representation seen in other primary sensory cortices, making it difficult to test this view. Recent work in PCX has focused on functional characteristics of these distributed afferent and association fiber systems. However, information regarding the efferent projections of PCX and how those may be involved in odor representation and object recognition has been largely ignored. To investigate this aspect of PCX, we have used the efferent pathway from mouse PCX to the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). Using double fluorescent retrograde tracing, we identified the output neurons (OPNs) of the PCX that project to two subdivisions of the OFC, the agranular insula and the lateral orbitofrontal cortex (AI-OPNs and LO-OPNs, respectively). We found that both AI-OPNs and LO-OPNs showed a distinct spatial topography within the PCX and fewer than 10% projected to both the AI and the LO as judged by double-labeling. These data revealed that the efferent component of the PCX may be topographically organized. Further, these data suggest a model for functional organization of the PCX in which the OPNs are grouped into parallel output circuits that provide olfactory information to different higher centers. The distributed afferent input from the olfactory bulb and the local PCX association circuits would then ensure a complete olfactory representation, pattern recognition capability, and neuroplasticity in each efferent circuit.

Olfactory learning promotes input-specific synaptic plasticity in adult-born neurons.

The production of new neurons in the olfactory bulb (OB) through adulthood is a major mechanism of structural and functional plasticity underlying learning-induced circuit remodeling. The recruitment of adult-born OB neurons depends not only on sensory input but also on the context in which the olfactory stimulus is received. Among the multiple steps of adult neurogenesis, the integration and survival of adult-born neurons are both strongly influenced by olfactory learning. Conversely, optogenetic stimulation of adult-born neurons has been shown to specifically improve olfactory learning and long-term memory. However, the nature of the circuit and the synaptic mechanisms underlying this reciprocal influence are not yet known. Here, we showed that olfactory learning increases the spine density in a region-restricted manner along the dendritic tree of adult-born granule cells (GCs). Anatomical and electrophysiological analysis of adult-born GCs showed that olfactory learning promotes a remodeling of both excitatory and inhibitory inputs selectively in the deep dendritic domain. Circuit mapping revealed that the malleable dendritic portion of adult-born neurons receives excitatory inputs mostly from the regions of the olfactory cortex that project back to the OB. Finally, selective optogenetic stimulation of olfactory cortical projections to the OB showed that learning strengthens these inputs onto adult-born GCs. We conclude that learning promotes input-specific synaptic plasticity in adult-born neurons, which reinforces the top-down influence from the olfactory cortex to early stages of olfactory information processing.

Aging in the olfactory system.

With advancing age, the ability of humans to detect and discriminate odors declines. In light of the rapid progress in analyzing molecular and structural correlates of developing and adult olfactory systems, the paucity of information available on the aged olfactory system is startling. A rich literature documents the decline of olfactory acuity in aged humans, but the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms are largely unknown. Using animal models, preliminary work is beginning to uncover differences between young and aged rodents that may help address the deficits seen in humans, but many questions remain unanswered. Recent studies of odorant receptor (OR) expression, synaptic organization, adult neurogenesis, and the contribution of cortical representation during aging suggest possible underlying mechanisms and new research directions.

Integrin α3 is required for late postnatal stability of dendrite arbors, dendritic spines and synapses, and mouse behavior.

Most dendrite branches and a large fraction of dendritic spines in the adult rodent forebrain are stable for extended periods of time. Destabilization of these structures compromises brain function and is a major contributing factor to psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases. Integrins are a class of transmembrane extracellular matrix receptors that function as αβ heterodimers and activate signaling cascades regulating the actin cytoskeleton. Here we identify integrin α3 as a key mediator of neuronal stability. Dendrites, dendritic spines, and synapses develop normally in mice with selective loss of integrin α3 in excitatory forebrain neurons, reaching their mature sizes and densities through postnatal day 21 (P21). However, by P42, integrin α3 mutant mice exhibit significant reductions in hippocampal dendrite arbor size and complexity, loss of dendritic spine and synapse densities, and impairments in hippocampal-dependent behavior. Furthermore, gene-dosage experiments demonstrate that integrin α3 interacts functionally with the Arg nonreceptor tyrosine kinase to activate p190RhoGAP, which inhibits RhoA GTPase and regulates hippocampal dendrite and synapse stability and mouse behavior. Together, our data support a fundamental role for integrin α3 in regulating dendrite arbor stability, synapse maintenance, and proper hippocampal function. In addition, these results provide a biochemical and structural explanation for the defects in long-term potentiation, learning, and memory reported previously in mice lacking integrin α3.

Dishevelled proteins are associated with olfactory sensory neuron presynaptic terminals.

Olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) project their axons from the olfactory epithelium toward the olfactory bulb (OB) in a heterogeneous and unsorted arrangement. However, as the axons approach the glomerular layer of the OB, axons from OSNs expressing the same odorant receptor (OR) sort and converge to form molecularly homogeneous glomeruli. Axon guidance cues, cell adhesion molecules, and OR induced activity have been implicated in the final targeting of OSN axons to specific glomeruli. Less understood, and often controversial, are the mechanisms used by OSN axons to initially navigate from the OE toward the OB. We previously demonstrated a role for Wnt and Frizzled (Fz) molecules in OSN axon extension and organization within the olfactory nerve. Building on that we now turned our attention to the downstream signaling cascades from Wnt-Fz interactions. Dishevelled (Dvl) is a key molecule downstream of Fz receptors. Three isoforms of Dvl with specific as well as overlapping functions are found in mammals. Here, we show that Dvl-1 expression is restricted to OSNs in the dorsal recess of the nasal cavity, and labels a unique subpopulation of glomeruli. Dvl-2 and Dvl-3 have a widespread distribution in both the OE and OB. Both Dvl-1 and Dvl-2 are associated with intra-glomerular pre-synaptic OSN terminals, suggesting a role in synapse formation/stabilization. Moreover, because Dvl proteins were observed in all OSN axons, we hypothesize that they are important determinants of OSN cell differentiation and axon extension.

Age-dependent regional changes in the rostral migratory stream.

Throughout life the subventricular zone (SVZ) is a source of new olfactory bulb (OB) interneurons. From the SVZ, neuroblasts migrate tangentially through the rostral migratory stream (RMS), a restricted route approximately 5 mm long in mice, reaching the OB within 10-14 days. Within the OB, neuroblasts migrate radially to the granule and glomerular layers where they differentiate into granule and periglomerular (PG) cells and integrate into existing synaptic circuits. SVZ neurogenesis decreases with age, and might be a factor in age-related olfactory deficits. However, the effect of aging on the RMS and on the differentiation of interneuron subpopulations remains poorly understood. Here, we examine RMS cytoarchitecture, neuroblast proliferation and clearance from the RMS, and PG cell subpopulations at 6, 12, 18, and 23 months of age. We find that aging affects the area occupied by newly generated cells within the RMS and regional proliferation, and the clearance of neuroblasts from the RMS and PG cell subpopulations and distribution remain stable.

Pax6 regulates Tbr1 and Tbr2 expressions in olfactory bulb mitral cells.

Tracking olfactory bulb mitral cell development with BrdU labeling, we find that mitral cells are generated from Pax6+ radial glial cells in the ventricular zone of the embryonic olfactory bulb. Unlike cortical projection neurons, postmitotic mitral cell precursors express both Tbr1 and Tbr2. Our tracking experiments revealed that down-regulation of Pax6 preceded up-regulation of Tbrs, and that Tbr1 emerged earlier than Tbr2. Using in utero electroporation, we also show that Pax6 negatively regulates the expression of Tbr1 and Tbr2 in postmitotic mitral cell precursors. Exogenous expression of Pax6 in embryonic olfactory bulb postmitotic precursors decreased the number of cells that progressed to a mitral cell fate. In contrast, exogenous expression of Pax6 resulted in an increase of GABAergic and/or dopaminergic interneurons. These results indicate that Pax6 is a regulator of fate determination of precursor cells.

Integrin β1 signals through Arg to regulate postnatal dendritic arborization, synapse density, and behavior.

Integrins are heterodimeric extracellular matrix receptors that are essential for the proper development of the vertebrate nervous system. We report here that selective loss of integrin β1 in excitatory neurons leads to reductions in the size and complexity of hippocampal dendritic arbors, hippocampal synapse loss, impaired hippocampus-dependent learning, and exaggerated psychomotor sensitivity to cocaine in mice. Our biochemical and genetic experiments demonstrate that the intracellular tail of integrin β1 binds directly to Arg kinase and that this interaction stimulates activity of the Arg substrate p190RhoGAP, an inactivator of the RhoA GTPase. Moreover, genetic manipulations that reduce integrin β1 signaling through Arg recapitulate the integrin β1 knock-out phenotype in a gene dose-sensitive manner. Together, these results describe a novel integrin β1-Arg-p190RhoGAP pathway that regulates dendritic arbor size, promotes synapse maintenance, supports proper hippocampal function, and mitigates the behavioral consequences of cocaine exposure.

Renal cystic disease proteins play critical roles in the organization of the olfactory epithelium.

It was reported that some proteins known to cause renal cystic disease (NPHP6; BBS1, and BBS4) also localize to the olfactory epithelium (OE), and that mutations in these proteins can cause anosmia in addition to renal cystic disease. We demonstrate here that a number of other proteins associated with renal cystic diseases - polycystin 1 and 2 (PC1, PC2), and Meckel-Gruber syndrome 1 and 3 (MKS1, MKS3) - localize to the murine OE. PC1, PC2, MKS1 and MKS3 are all detected in the OE by RT-PCR. We find that MKS3 localizes specifically to dendritic knobs of olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs), while PC1 localizes to both dendritic knobs and cilia of mature OSNs. In mice carrying mutations in MKS1, the expression of the olfactory adenylate cyclase (AC3) is substantially reduced. Moreover, in rats with renal cystic disease caused by a mutation in MKS3, the laminar organization of the OE is perturbed and there is a reduced expression of components of the odor transduction cascade (G(olf), AC3) and α-acetylated tubulin. Furthermore, we show with electron microscopy that cilia in MKS3 mutant animals do not manifest the proper microtubule architecture. Both MKS1 and MKS3 mutant animals show no obvious alterations in odor receptor expression. These data show that multiple renal cystic proteins localize to the OE, where we speculate that they work together to regulate aspects of the development, maintenance or physiological activities of cilia.

Loss-of-function mutations in sodium channel Nav1.7 cause anosmia.

Loss of function of the gene SCN9A, encoding the voltage-gated sodium channel Na(v)1.7, causes a congenital inability to experience pain in humans. Here we show that Na(v)1.7 is not only necessary for pain sensation but is also an essential requirement for odour perception in both mice and humans. We examined human patients with loss-of-function mutations in SCN9A and show that they are unable to sense odours. To establish the essential role of Na(v)1.7 in odour perception, we generated conditional null mice in which Na(v)1.7 was removed from all olfactory sensory neurons. In the absence of Na(v)1.7, these neurons still produce odour-evoked action potentials but fail to initiate synaptic signalling from their axon terminals at the first synapse in the olfactory system. The mutant mice no longer display vital, odour-guided behaviours such as innate odour recognition and avoidance, short-term odour learning, and maternal pup retrieval. Our study creates a mouse model of congenital general anosmia and provides new strategies to explore the genetic basis of the human sense of smell.

Fragile X mental retardation protein regulates new neuron differentiation in the adult olfactory bulb.

The fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) is an RNA-binding protein essential for multiple aspects of neuronal mRNA metabolism. Its absence leads to the fragile X syndrome, the most prevalent genetic form of mental retardation. The anatomical landmark of the disease, also present in the Fmr1 knock-out (KO) mice, is the hyperabundance of immature-looking lengthened dendritic spines. We used the well known continuous production of adult-born granule cells (GCs) in the mouse olfactory bulb (OB) to analyze the consequences of Fmrp loss on the differentiation of GCs. Morphological analysis of GCs in the Fmr1 KO mice showed an increase in spine density without a change in spine length. We developed an RNA interference strategy to cell-autonomously mutate Fmr1 in a wild-type OB network. Mutated GCs displayed an increase in spine density and spine length. Detailed analysis of the spines through immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy, and electrophysiology surprisingly showed that, despite these abnormalities, spines receive normal glutamatergic synapses, and thus that mutated adult-born neurons are synaptically integrated into the OB circuitry. Time-course analysis of the spine defects showed that Fmrp cell-autonomously downregulates the level and rate of spine production and limits their overgrowth. Finally, we report that Fmrp does not regulate dendritogenesis in standard conditions but is necessary for activity-dependent dendritic remodeling. Overall, our study of Fmrp in the context of adult neurogenesis has enabled us to carry out a precise dissection of the role of Fmrp in neuronal differentiation and underscores its pleiotropic involvement in both spinogenesis and dendritogenesis.

Timing of neurogenesis is a determinant of olfactory circuitry.

An odorant receptor map in mammals that is constructed by the glomerular coalescence of sensory neuron axons in the olfactory bulb is essential for proper odor information processing. How this map is linked with olfactory cortex is unknown. Using a battery of methods, including various markers of cell division in combination with tracers of neuronal connections and time-lapse live imaging, we found that early- and late-generated mouse mitral cells became differentially distributed in the dorsal and ventral subdivisions of the odorant receptor map. In addition, the late-generated mitral cells extended substantially stronger projections to the olfactory tubercle than did the early-generated cells. Together, these data indicate that the odorant receptor map is developmentally linked to the olfactory cortices in part by the birthdate of mitral cells. Thus, different olfactory cortical regions become involved in processing information from distinct regions of the odorant receptor map.

Hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated channels in olfactory sensory neurons regulate axon extension and glomerular formation.

Mechanisms influencing the development of olfactory bulb glomeruli are poorly understood. While odor receptors (ORs) play an important role in olfactory sensory neuron (OSN) axon targeting/coalescence (Mombaerts et al., 1996; Wang et al., 1998; Feinstein and Mombaerts, 2004), recent work showed that G protein activation alone is sufficient to induce OSN axon coalescence (Imai et al., 2006; Chesler et al., 2007), suggesting an activity-dependent mechanism in glomerular development. Consistent with these data, OSN axon projections and convergence are perturbed in mice deficient for adenylyl cyclase III, which is downstream from the OR and catalyzes the conversion of ATP to cAMP. However, in cyclic nucleotide-gated (CNG) channel knock-out mice OSN axons are only transiently perturbed (Lin et al., 2000), suggesting that the CNG channel may not be the sole target of cAMP. This prompted us to investigate an alternative channel, the hyperpolarization-activated, cyclic nucleotide-gated cation channel (HCN), as a potential developmental target of cAMP in OSNs. Here, we demonstrate that HCN channels are developmentally precocious in OSNs and therefore are plausible candidates for affecting OSN axon development. Inhibition of HCN channels in dissociated OSNs significantly reduced neurite outgrowth. Moreover, in HCN1 knock-out mice the formation of glomeruli was delayed in parallel with perturbations of axon organization in the olfactory nerve. These data support the hypothesis that the outgrowth and coalescence of OSN axons is, at least in part, subject to activity-dependent mechanisms mediated via HCN channels.

Developmental dynamics of piriform cortex.

The piriform cortex (PCX) is a trilaminar paleocortex that is of interest for its role in odor coding and as a model for studying general principles of cortical sensory processing. While the structure of the mature PCX has been well characterized, its development is poorly understood. Notably, the kinetics as well as the cellular and morphological basis of the postnatal events that shape the PCX remain unknown. We followed the cellular fates of early- versus late-born cells in layer II of the anterior PCX, with a focus on the molecular maturation of pyramidal cells and the kinetics of their differentiation. We showed that: 1) early-born pyramidal cells differentiate more rapidly than late-born cells and 2) the position of pyramidal cells within the thickness of layer II determines the kinetics of their molecular maturation. We then examined the postnatal development of cortical lamination and showed that the establishment of inhibitory networks in the PCX proceeds through an increase in the density of inhibitory synapses despite a decrease in the number of interneurons. Together, our results provide a more comprehensive view of the postnatal development of the anterior PCX and reveal both similarities and differences in the development of this paleocortex versus the neocortex.

Composition of the migratory mass during development of the olfactory nerve.

The embryonic development of the olfactory nerve includes the differentiation of cells within the olfactory placode, migration of cells into the mesenchyme from the placode, and extension of axons by the olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs). The coalition of both placode-derived migratory cells and OSN axons within the mesenchyme is collectively termed the "migratory mass." Here we address the sequence and coordination of the events that give rise to the migratory mass. Using neuronal and developmental markers, we show subpopulations of neurons emerging from the placode by embryonic day (E)10, a time at which the migratory mass is largely cellular and only a few isolated OSN axons are seen, prior to the first appearance of OSN axon fascicles at E11. These neurons also precede the emergence of the gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons and ensheathing glia which are also resident in the mesenchyme as part of the migratory mass beginning at about E11. The data reported here begin to establish a spatiotemporal framework for the migration of molecularly heterogeneous placode-derived cells in the mesenchyme. The precocious emigration of the early arriving neurons in the mesenchyme suggests they may serve as "guidepost cells" that contribute to the establishment of a scaffold for the extension and coalescence of the OSN axons.

The first images of nerve cells: Golgi on the olfactory bulb 1875.

The third paper by Camillo Golgi on his new method was on the olfactory bulb. This paper has never been translated into English, but is of special interest both for its pioneering description of olfactory bulb cells and for containing the first illustration by Golgi of cells stained with his new method. A translation into English is provided in this paper, together with commentaries on the significant points in his descriptions. These results are placed in the perspective of Cajal's subsequent first publication on the olfactory bulb and brief mention of the work of other early histologists. This perspective allows one to see more clearly Golgi's fundamental contributions to the olfactory bulb in particular and to the description of the neuronal architecture of the brain in general.

Axon fasciculation in the developing olfactory nerve.

Olfactory sensory neuron (OSN) axons exit the olfactory epithelium (OE) and extend toward the olfactory bulb (OB) where they coalesce into glomeruli. Each OSN expresses only 1 of approximately 1,200 odor receptors (ORs). OSNs expressing the same OR are distributed in restricted zones of the OE. However, within a zone, the OSNs expressing a specific OR are not contiguous - distribution appears stochastic. Upon reaching the OB the OSN axons expressing the same OR reproducibly coalesce into two to three glomeruli. While ORs appear necessary for appropriate convergence of axons, a variety of adhesion associated molecules and activity-dependent mechanisms are also implicated. Recent data suggest pre-target OSN axon sorting may influence glomerular convergence. Here, using regional and OR-specific markers, we addressed the spatio-temporal properties associated with the onset of homotypic fasciculation in embryonic mice and assessed the degree to which subpopulations of axons remain segregated as they extend toward the nascent OB. We show that immediately upon crossing the basal lamina, axons uniformly turn sharply, usually at an approximately 90° angle toward the OB. Molecularly defined subpopulations of axons show evidence of spatial segregation within the nascent nerve by embryonic day 12, within 48 hours of the first OSN axons crossing the basal lamina, but at least 72 hours before synapse formation in the developing OB. Homotypic fasciculation of OSN axons expressing the same OR appears to be a hierarchical process. While regional segregation occurs in the mesenchyme, the final convergence of OR-specific subpopulations does not occur until the axons reach the inner nerve layer of the OB.

Age-induced disruption of selective olfactory bulb synaptic circuits.

Little is known about how normal aging affects the brain. Recent evidence suggests that neuronal loss is not ubiquitous in aging neocortex. Instead, subtle and still controversial, region- and layer-specific alterations of neuron morphology and synapses are reported during aging, leading to the notion that discrete changes in neural circuitry may underlie age-related cognitive deficits. Although deficits in sensory function suggest that primary sensory cortices are affected by aging, our understanding of the age-related cellular and molecular changes is sparse. To assess the effect of aging on the organization of olfactory bulb (OB) circuitry, we carried out quantitative morphometric analyses in the mouse OB at 2, 6, 12, 18, and 24 mo. Our data establish that the volumes of the major OB layers do not change during aging. Parallel to this, we are unique in demonstrating that the stereotypic glomerular convergence of M72-GFP OSN axons in the OB is preserved during aging. We then provide unique evidence of the stability of projection neurons and interneurons subpopulations in the aging mouse OB, arguing against the notion of an age-dependent widespread loss of neurons. Finally, we show ultrastructurally a significant layer-specific loss of synapses; synaptic density is reduced in the glomerular layer but not the external plexiform layer, leading to an imbalance in OB circuitry. These results suggest that reduction of afferent synaptic input and local modulatory circuit synapses in OB glomeruli may contribute to specific age-related alterations of the olfactory function.

Chromosomal location-dependent nonstochastic onset of odor receptor expression.

As odorant receptors (ORs) are thought to be critical determinants of olfactory sensory neuron (OSN) axon targeting and organization, we examined the spatiotemporal onset of mice ORs expression from the differentiation of OSNs in the olfactory placode to an aging olfactory epithelium. ORs were first detected in the placode at embryonic day 9 (E9), at the onset of OSN differentiation but before axon extension. By E13, 22 of 23 ORs were expressed. Onset of individual OR expression was diverse; levels and patterns of expression were unique for each OR. Regional distribution of ORs within zones of the olfactory epithelium appeared stable across development; adult-like patterns were observed by E13. Finally, analysis of OR expression and chromosomal location suggests that ORs are not stochastically expressed; they show evidence of coordinated expression. Collectively, these studies demonstrate that ORs are not equally represented in the "olfactome" across an animal's lifespan.

Olfactory ensheathing cell membrane properties are shaped by connectivity.

Olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) have been repeatedly implicated in mediating plasticity, particularly in situ in the olfactory nerve in which they support the extension of olfactory sensory neuron (OSN) axons from the olfactory epithelium to the olfactory bulb (OB). OECs are specialized glia whose processes surround OSN axon fascicles within the olfactory nerve and across the OB surface. Despite their purported importance in promoting axon extension, and following transplants, little is known about either morphology or biophysical properties of OECs in situ. In particular, cell-cell interactions that may influence OEC function are largely unexplored. Here, we studied OEC connectivity and morphology in slice preparations, preserving tissue structure and cell-cell interactions. Our analyses showed that OECs form a matrix of cellular projections surrounding axons, unique among glia, and express high levels of connexin-43. Lucifer Yellow injections revealed selective dye coupling among small subgroups of OECs. Two types of OECs were biophysically distinguished with whole-cell voltage-clamp recordings: (1) with low-input resistance (R(i)), linear current profiles, and frequently dye coupled; and (2) with high R(i), nonlinear current profiles, and infrequent dye coupling. Pharmacological blockade of gap junctions changed OEC membrane properties such that linear OECs became nonlinear. Double recordings indicated that the appearance of the nonlinear current profile was associated with the loss of electrical coupling between OECs. We conclude that the diversity of OEC current profiles can be explained by differences in gap-junction connectivity and discuss implications of this diversity for OEC influences on axon growth and excitability.

Dendritic branching of olfactory bulb mitral and tufted cells: regulation by TrkB.

Projection neurons of mammalian olfactory bulb (OB), mitral and tufted cells, have dendrites whose morphologies are specifically differentiated for efficient odor information processing. The apical dendrite extends radially and arborizes in single glomerulus where it receives primary input from olfactory sensory neurons that express the same odor receptor. The lateral dendrites extend horizontally in the external plexiform layer and make reciprocal dendrodendritic synapses with granule cells, which moderate mitral/tufted cell activity. The molecular mechanisms regulating dendritic development of mitral/tufted cells is one of the unsolved important problems in the olfactory system. Here, we focused on TrkB receptors to test the hypothesis that neurotrophin-mediate mechanisms contributed to dendritic differentiation of OB mitral/tufted cells.