Temporally staggered glomerulus development in the Moth Manduca sexta

Brian W. Lipscomb, Leslie P. Tolbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Glomeruli, neuropilar structures composed of olfactory receptor neuron (ORN) axon terminals and central neuron dendrites, are a common feature of olfactory systems. Typically, ORN axons segregate into glomeruli based on odor specificity, making glomeruli the basic unit for initial processing of odorant information. Developmentally, glomeruli arise from protoglomeruli, loose clusters of ORN axons that gradually synapse onto dendrites. Previous work in the moth Manduca sexta demonstrated that protoglomeruli develop in a wave across the antennal lobe (AL) during stage 5 of the 18 stages of metamorphic adult development. However, ORN axons from the distal segments of the antenna arrive at the AL for several more days. We report that protoglomeruli present at stage 5 account for only approximately two or three of adult glomeruli with the number of structures increasing over subsequent stages. How do these later arriving axons incorporate into glomeruli? Examining the dendritic projections of a unique serotonin-containing neuron into glomeruli at later stages revealed glomeruli with immature dendritic arbors intermingled among more mature glomeruli. Labeling ORN axons that originate in proximal segments of the antenna suggested that early-arriving axons target a limited number of glomeruli. We conclude that AL glomeruli form over an extended time period, possibly as a result of ORNs expressing new odorant receptors arriving from distal antennal segments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-247
Number of pages11
JournalChemical Senses
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Antennal lobe
  • Protoglomerulus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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