Author(s): Lattemann M, Zierau A, Schulte C, Seidl S, Kuhlmann B,
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Abstract In the olfactory system of Drosophila, 50 functional classes of sensory receptor neurons (ORNs) project in a highly organized fashion into the CNS, where they sort out from one another and converge into distinct synaptic glomeruli. We identified the transmembrane molecule Semaphorin-1a (Sema-1a) as an essential component to ensure glomerulus-specific axon segregation. Removal of sema-1a in ORNs does not affect the pathfinding toward their target area but disrupts local axonal convergence into a single glomerulus, resulting in two distinct targeting phenotypes: axons either intermingle with adjacent ORN classes or segregate according to their odorant receptor identity into ectopic sites. Differential Sema-1a expression can be detected among neighboring glomeruli, and mosaic analyses show that sema-1a functions nonautonomously in ORN axon sorting. These findings provide insights into the mechanism by which afferent interactions lead to synaptic specificity in the olfactory system.
This article was published in Neuron
and referenced in Cell & Developmental Biology