Distinct interhemispheric connectivity at the level of the olfactory bulb emerges during Xenopus laevis metamorphosis
The olfactory system of anuran tadpoles requires substantial restructuring to adapt to the lifestyle of the adult frogs. Xenopus laevis tadpoles have a single main olfactory epithelium in the principal nasal cavity associated with aquatic olfaction. After metamorphosis, this epithelial surface is transformed into the adult air-nose and a new epithelium, the adult water-nose, is present in the middle cavity. Impacts of this massive remodeling on odor processing, behavior and network structure
... still unexplored. In the present study, we used neuronal tracings, calcium imaging and a behavioral assay to examine the functional connectivity between the epithelium and the main olfactory bulb during metamorphosis. In tadpoles, olfactory receptor neurons in the principal cavity epithelium project axons to glomeruli in the ventral main olfactory bulb. During metamorphosis, these projections are gradually replaced by receptor neuron axons emerging from the newly forming middle cavity epithelium. Despite this metamorphotic reorganization in the ventral bulb, two spatially and functionally segregated odor processing streams remain undisrupted. In line with this, metamorphotic rewiring does not alter behavioral responses to waterborne odorants. Contemporaneously, newly formed receptor neurons in the remodeling principal cavity epithelium project their axons to the dorsal part of the bulb. The emerging neuronal networks of the dorsal and ventral main olfactory bulb show substantial differences. Glomeruli around the midline of the dorsal bulb are innervated from the left and right nasal epithelia. In addition, postsynaptic projection neurons in the dorsal bulb predominantly have smaller tufts and connect to multiple glomeruli, while more than half of projection neurons in the ventral bulb have a single, bigger tuft. Our results show that during the metamorphotic reconstruction of the olfactory network the water system remains functional. Differences of the neuronal network of the dorsal and ventral olfactory bulb imply that a higher degree of odor integration takes place in the dorsal main olfactory bulb. This is likely connected with the processing of different odorants, airborne vs. waterborne, in these two parts of the olfactory bulb.