Expression of extracellular matrix molecules and cell surface molecules in the olfactory nerve pathway during early development

Qizhi Gong, Michael T. Shipley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


The spatial and temporal expression patterns of several extracellular matrix molecules-laminin and fibronectin and cell surface molecules, neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM), L1, tenascin, chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan, and peanut agglutinin (PNA) binding sites-were investigated during early olfactory nerve development. NCAM and L1 have similar patterns: They are expressed in the olfactory nerve and on the olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) commencing with the earliest olfactory axon outgrowth (E12- E15). Their expression patterns suggest that both NCAM and L1 are associated with extension and fasciculation of olfactory axons. A comparison of L1 and olfactory marker protein suggests that L1 is expressed predominantly on immature ORNs. Laminin has an unique punctate staining pattern in the developing olfactory pathway as early as E12. These laminin puncta might play a role in olfactory neurite outgrowth and guidance. At E14, when pioneer olfactory axons enter the brain, the laminin-positive meninges on the surface of the olfactory bulb primordium break down but remain intact in the rest of the telencephalon. This suggests a functional interaction between the olfactory axons and the glial-pial barrier. Fibronectin staining is diffuse throughout the cranial mesenchyme but is absent from the olfactory nerve pathway. No specific patterns of tenascin or chondroitin sulfate, were observed during early olfactory development. PNA binding sites were associated with olfactory axon fasciculation. The expression of several extracellular matrix molecules and cell surface molecules is spatially and temporally regulated in the developing olfactory system. These molecules, thus, may play functional roles in olfactory axon outgrowth, fasciculation, and/or guidance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 26 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • fibronectin
  • L1
  • laminin
  • NCAM
  • telencephalon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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