Axons of olfactory sensory neurons expressing a given odorant receptor converge to a few glomeruli in the olfactory bulb. We have generated mice with unresponsive olfactory sensory neurons by targeted mutagenesis of a cyclic nucleotide-gated channel subunit gene, OCNC1. When these anosmic mice were crossed with mice in which neurons expressing a given odorant receptor can be visualized by coexpression of an axonal marker, the pattern of convergence was affected for one but not another receptor. In a novel paradigm, termed monoallelic deprivation, axons from channel positive or negative neurons that express the same odorant receptor segregate into distinct glomeruli within the same bulb. Thus, the peripheral olfactory projections are in part influenced by mechanisms that depend on neuronal activity.
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