Spatiotemporal pattern of expression of tenascin-like molecules in a developing insect olfactory system

C. E. Krull, D. B. Morton, A. Faissner, M. Schachner, Leslie P Tolbert

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During the development of the olfactory (antennal) lobe of the moth Manduca sexta, olfactory sensory axons induce glomerular branching patterns in their target neurons. Glial cells, by surrounding the developing glomerular template, are thought to mediate the developmental influence of olfactory axons on these branching patterns. Previous studies have demonstrated that, in the absence of glia, neurons in the antennal lobe branch in an aglomerular fashion, even in the presence of competent antennal axons (Oland and Tolbert, 1988, J. Comp. Neurol. 278:377-387; Oland et al., 1988, J. Neurosci. 8:353-367). We have begun to explore the molecular basis by which glial cells could influence patterns of neurite branching. For this work, we have utilized immunocytochemical techniques and a partial biochemical analysis to demonstrate that molecules antigenically similar and comparable in size to mammalian tenascin are localized on the neuropil- associated glial cells that form borders around glomeruli in the developing antennal lobe. These tenascin-like molecules associated with neuropilar glia are present at critical stages of glomerulus development; tenascin-like immunoreactivity declines after glomeruli form and become stabilized. Neither the arrival nor the absence of antennal axons in the lobe induces changes in either the molecular forms or the amounts of tenascin-like molecules. The spatiotemporal pattern of expression of tenascin-like molecules suggests that they are in a position to participate in the formation of a glomerular neuropil and could form a molecular barrier that constrains neurite outgrowth strictly to glomeruli.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-534
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Neurobiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1994



  • development
  • glia
  • glomeruli
  • olfaction
  • tenascin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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