Developing and maintaining a nose-to-brain map of odorant identity

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) in the olfactory epithelium of the nose transduce chemical odorant stimuli into electrical signals. These signals are then sent to the OSNs' target structure in the brain, the main olfactory bulb (OB), which performs the initial stages of sensory processing in olfaction. The projection of OSNs to the OB is highly organized in a chemospatial map, whereby axon terminals from OSNs expressing the same odorant receptor (OR) coalesce into individual spherical structures known as glomeruli. This nose-to-brain map of odorant identity is built from late embryonic development to early postnatal life, through a complex combination of genetically encoded, OR-dependent and activity-dependent mechanisms. It must then be actively maintained throughout adulthood as OSNs experience turnover due to external insult and ongoing neurogenesis. Our review describes and discusses these two distinct and crucial processes in olfaction, focusing on the known mechanisms that first establish and then maintain chemospatial order in the mammalian OSN-to-OB projection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number220053
Pages (from-to)220053
Number of pages1
JournalOpen Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2022


  • axon guidance
  • development
  • odorant receptors
  • olfaction
  • olfactory bulb
  • olfactory sensory neurons


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