Olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) located in the dorsomedial and ventromedial regions of the olfactory epithelium (OE) are distinguished from one another based on their molecular expression patterns. This difference is reflected in the separation of the glomerular layer of the olfactory bulb (OB) into dorsomedial and ventrolateral regions. However, it is unclear whether a complementary separation is also evident in the projection neurons that innervate the OB glomeruli. In this study, we compared the development of the OB between different regions by focusing on the transcription factor, Tbx21, which is expressed by mitral and tufted cells in the mature OB. Examining the OB at different developmental ages, we found that Tbx21 expression commenced in the anteromedial region called the tongue-shaped area, followed by the dorsomedial and then ventrolateral areas. We also showed that the tongue-shaped area was innervated by the OSNs located in the most dorsomedial part of the ventrolateral OE, the V-zone:DM. Interestingly, the generation of OSNs occurred first in the dorsomedial zone including the V-zone:DM, suggesting a correlation between the time course of OSN generation in the OE and Tbx21 expression in their target region of the OB. In contrast, expression of vGluT1, which is also found in all mitral cells in the mature OB, was first detected in the ventrolateral region during development. Our findings demonstrate that the development of projection neurons occurs in a compartmentalized manner in the OB; tongue-shaped, dorsomedial, and ventrolateral areas, and that not all projection neurons follow the same developmental pathway.
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