The antennal lobe (AL) of Drosophila is the first olfactory processing center in which olfactory input and output are spatially organized into distinct channels via glomeruli to form a discrete neural map. In each glomerulus, the axons of a single type of olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) synapse with the dendrites of a single type of projection neurons (PNs). The AL is an ideal place to study how the wiring specificity between specific types of ORNs and PNs is established during development. During the past two decades, the involvement of diverse molecules in the specification and patterning of ORNs and PNs has been reported. Furthermore, local interneurons—another component of glomeruli—have been recently catalogued and their functions have been gradually dissected. Although there is accumulating knowledge about the involvement of these three cell types in the wiring specificity of the olfactory system, in this review, we focus especially on the development of PN dendrites.
2014 by The Genetics Society of Japan