UMMS Affiliation

Department of Cell Biology

Publication Date


Document Type



Adenylate Cyclase; Axons; Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental; N-Acetylglucosaminyltransferases; Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules; Olfactory Mucosa; Signal Transduction


Cell Biology


In the olfactory epithelium (OE), odorant receptor stimulation generates cAMP signals that function in both odor detection and the regulation of axon guidance molecule expression. The enzyme that synthesizes cAMP, adenylyl cyclase 3 (AC3), is coexpressed in olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) with poly-N-acetyllactosamine (PLN) oligosaccharides determined by the glycosyltransferase beta3GnT2. The loss of either enzyme results in similar defects in olfactory bulb (OB) innervation and OSN survival, suggesting that glycosylation may be important for AC3 function. We show here that AC3 is extensively modified with N-linked PLN, which is essential for AC3 activity and localization. On Western blots, AC3 from the wild-type OE migrates diffusely as a heavily glycosylated 200 kDa band that interacts with the PLN-binding lectin LEA. AC3 from the beta3GnT2(-/-) OE loses these PLN modifications, migrating instead as a 140 kDa glycoprotein. Furthermore, basal and forskolin-stimulated cAMP production is reduced 80-90% in the beta3GnT2(-/-) OE. Although AC3 traffics normally to null OSN cilia, it is absent from axon projections that aberrantly target the OB. The cAMP-dependent guidance receptor neuropilin-1 is also lost from beta3GnT2(-/-) OSNs and axons, while semaphorin-3A ligand expression is upregulated. In addition, kirrel2, a mosaically expressed adhesion molecule that functions in axon sorting, is absent from beta3GnT2(-/-) OB projections. These results demonstrate that PLN glycans are essential in OSNs for proper AC3 localization and function. We propose that the loss of cAMP-dependent guidance cues is also a critical factor in the severe axon guidance defects observed in beta3GnT2(-/-) mice.

DOI of Published Version



J Neurosci. 2011 Apr 27;31(17):6576-86. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID


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Cell Biology Commons