The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 65: 275 - 287 (2021)

Vol 65, Issue 4-5-6

Special Issue: Developmental Biology in Ibero-America - Part 2

Dissecting the neural divide: a continuous neurectoderm gives rise to the olfactory placode and bulb

Published: 25 August 2020

Jorge Torres-Paz1, Eugene M. Tine2,3 and Kathleen E. Whitlock*,2,3

1Université Paris-Saclay, CNRS, Institut des Neurosciences Paris-Saclay, Gif-sur-Yvette, France,2Centro Interdisciplinario de Neurociencia de Valparaíso (CINV), Universidad de Valparaíso, Valparaíso, Chile and 3Instituto de Neurociencia, Universidad de Valparaíso, Valparaíso, Chile


The olfactory epithelia arise from morphologically identifiable structures called olfactory placodes. Sensory placodes are generally described as being induced from the ectoderm suggesting that their development is separate from the coordinated cell movements generating the central nervous system. Previously, we have shown that the olfactory placodes arise from a large field of cells bordering the telencephalic precursors in the neural plate, and that cell movements, not cell division, underlie olfactory placode morphogenesis. Subsequently by image analysis, cells were tracked as they moved in the continuous sheet of neurectoderm giving rise to the peripheral (olfactory organs) and central (olfactory bulbs) nervous system (Torres-Paz and Whitlock, 2014). These studies lead to a model whereby the olfactory epithelia develop from within the border of the neural late and are a neural tube derivative, similar to the retina of the eye (Torres-Paz and Whitlock, 2014; Whitlock, 2008). Here we show that randomly generated clones of cells extend across the morphologically differentiated olfactory placodes/olfactory bulbs, and test the hypothesis that these structures are patterned by a different level of distal-less (dlx) gene expression subdividing the anterior neurectoderm into OP precursors (high Dlx expression) and OB precursors (lower Dlx expression). Manipulation of DLX protein and RNA levels resulted in morphological changes in the size of the olfactory epithelia and olfactory bulb. Thus, the olfactory epithelia and bulbs arise from a common neurectodermal region and develop in concert through coordinated morphological movements.


lineage, telencephalon, retina, distal-less, emx1, emx3

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