RNA-seq analysis of developing olfactory bulb projection neurons

Yuka Imamura Kawasawa, Anna C. Salzberg, Mingfeng Li, Nenad Šestan, Charles A. Greer, Fumiaki Imamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Transmission of olfactory information to higher brain regions is mediated by olfactory bulb (OB) projection neurons, the mitral and tufted cells. Although mitral/tufted cells are often characterized as the OB counterpart of cortical projection neurons (also known as pyramidal neurons), they possess several unique morphological characteristics and project specifically to the olfactory cortices. Moreover, the molecular networks contributing to the generation of mitral/tufted cells during development are largely unknown. To understand the developmental patterns of gene expression in mitral/tufted cells in the OB, we performed transcriptome analyses targeting purified OB projection neurons at different developmental time points with next-generation RNA sequencing (RNA-seq). Through these analyses, we found 1202 protein-coding genes that are temporally differentially-regulated in developing projection neurons. Among them, 388 genes temporally changed their expression level only in projection neurons. The data provide useful resource to study the molecular mechanisms regulating development of mitral/tufted cells. We further compared the gene expression profiles of developing mitral/tufted cells with those of three cortical projection neuron subtypes, subcerebral projection neurons, corticothalamic projection neurons, and callosal projection neurons, and found that the molecular signature of developing olfactory projection neuron bears resemblance to that of subcerebral neurons. We also identified 3422 events that change the ratio of splicing isoforms in mitral/tufted cells during maturation. Interestingly, several genes expressed a novel isoform not previously reported. These results provide us with a broad perspective of the molecular networks underlying the development of OB projection neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-86
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular and Cellular Neuroscience
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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