JOURNAL ARTICLE

Interaxonal Eph-ephrin signaling may mediate sorting of olfactory sensory axons in Manduca sexta

Megumi Kaneko, Alan Nighorn
Journal of Neuroscience 2003 December 17, 23 (37): 11523-38
14684856
We have investigated possible roles of the Eph family receptor tyrosine kinases and their ligand ephrins in the developing primary olfactory nerve pathway in the moth Manduca sexta. The Manduca homologs of the Eph receptor (MsEph) and ephrin ligand (MsEphrin) are most closely related to Drosophila Eph and ephrin, respectively. In situ labeling with Fc-fusion probes, in which IgG Fc was linked to the extracellular domain of MsEph (Eph-Fc) or MsEphrin (ephrin-Fc), reveals that both Eph receptors and ephrins are expressed on axons of olfactory receptor cells (ORCs) during their ingrowth to the primary center, the antennal lobe (AL). Interestingly, Eph receptors and ephrins are differentially distributed among identifiable glomeruli such that glomeruli with high receptor staining show little or no ligand staining, and vice versa, suggesting a complementary Eph-ephrin expression by subsets of ORC axons innervating a particular set of glomeruli. In contrast, neither Eph receptors nor ephrins are detectable in intrinsic components of the AL. In vitro, ephrin-Fc and Eph-Fc, when present homogeneously in the substratum, inhibit neurite outgrowth from olfactory epithelial explants. Moreover, in patterned substratum, neurites growing on the standard substratum turn or stop after encountering the test substratum containing ephrin-Fc. These in vitro observations indicate that MsEphrin can act as an inhibitor/repulsive cue for ORC axons. Based on results from in situ and in vitro experiments, we hypothesize that Eph receptors and ephrins mediate axon sorting and fasciculation through repulsive axon-axon interactions.

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