Expression of nitric oxide synthase and soluble guanylyl cyclase in the developing olfactory system of Manduca sexta

Nicholas J. Gibson, Alan Nighorn

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53 Scopus citations


The gaseous messenger nitric oxide (NO), with its ability to mediate both intercellular and intracellular communication, can play important roles in mediating cellular communication in both the development and the function of the nervous system. The authors investigated the possible role of NO signaling in the developing olfactory system (antennal lobe) of the moth Manduca sexta. NO synthase (NOS), the enzyme that generates NO, was localized by using immunocytochemistry, in situ hybridization, and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate-diaphorase (NADPH-d) histochemistry. Although NADPH-d staining appears to be a poor indicator of the presence of NOS in this system, immunocytochemistry and in situ hybridization reveal that NOS is expressed in the axons of olfactory receptor neurons throughout development and in the perineurial sheath that covers the brain early in development. NOS is present in axon terminals as they form protoglomeruli, raising the possibility that NO mediates cell-cell interactions during antennal lobe development. NO-sensitive soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC), one of the best characterized targets of NO, was localized in the developing olfactory system by using in situ hybridization and immunocytochemistry for the Manduca sexta sGCα1 subunit. The ability of the developing olfactory system to respond to exogenous NO also was examined by using cyclic guanosine monophosphate immunocytochemistry. sGC is expressed in mechanosensory neurons in the developing antenna and in many antennal lobe neurons in both the medial and lateral cell body clusters. Thus, NOS and sGC are expressed in a pattern that suggests that this signaling pathway may mediate intercellular communication during development of the olfactory system in Manduca sexta. (C) 2000 Wiley- Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-205
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 26 2000


  • Cyclic guanosine monophosphate
  • Development
  • Insect
  • Nitric oxide
  • Olfaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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