Development of a glial network in the olfactory nerve: Role of calcium and neuronal activity

Mounir A. Koussa, Leslie P. Tolbert, Lynne A. Oland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In adult olfactory nerves of mammals and moths, a network of glial cells ensheathes small bundles of olfactory receptor axons. In the developing antennal nerve (AN) of the moth Manduca sexta, the axons of olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) migrate from the olfactory sensory epithelium toward the antennal lobe. Here we explore developmental interactions between ORN axons and AN glial cells. During early stages in AN glial-cell migration, glial cells are highly dye coupled, dividing glia are readily found in the nerve and AN glial cells label strongly for glutamine synthetase. By the end of this period, dye-coupling is rare, glial proliferation has ceased, glutamine synthetase labeling is absent, and glial processes have begun to extend to enwrap bundles of axons, a process that continues throughout the remainder of metamorphic development. Whole-cell and perforated-patch recordings in vivo from AN glia at different stages of network formation revealed two potassium currents and an R-like calcium current. Chronic in vivo exposure to the R-type channel blocker SNX-482 halted or greatly reduced AN glial migration. Chronically blocking spontaneous Na-dependent activity by injection of tetrodotoxin reduced the glial calcium current implicating an activity-dependent interaction between ORNs and glial cells in the development of glial calcium currents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-261
Number of pages17
JournalNeuron Glia Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • Calcium currents
  • Manduca sexta
  • antennal nerve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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