The vertebrate olfactory bulb is a remarkably organized neuronal structure, in which hundreds of functionally different sensory inputs are organized into a highly stereotyped topographical map. How this wiring is achieved is not yet understood. Here, we show that the olfactory bulb topographical map is modified in adenylyl cyclase 3 (adenylate cyclase 3)-deficient mice. In these mutants, axonal projection targets corresponding to specific odorant receptors are disorganized, are no longer exclusively innervated by functionally identical axonal projections and shift dramatically along the anteroposterior axis of the olfactory bulb. Moreover, the cyclase depletion leads to the prevention of neuropilin 1 (Nrp1) expression in olfactory sensory neuron axonal projections. Taken together, our data point to a major role played by a crucial element of the odorant-induced transduction cascade, adenylyl cyclase 3, in the targeting of olfactory sensory neuron axons towards the brain. This mechanism probably involves the regulation of receptor genes known to be crucial in axonal guidance processes.
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