Development of the Olfactory System in the African Clawed Frog, Xenopus Laevis

  • Gail D. Burd


The olfactory system of adult mammals has been studied extensively (see Halász, 1990). The basic structure of the mammalian olfactory epithelium and olfactory bulb is outlined in this section to serve as background for the development and adult structure of the olfactory system in the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis. The peripheral sensory tissue of the vertebrate olfactory system is the olfactory epithelium (see Farbman, 1992). The olfactory epithelium lines the dorsal roof, septum, and lateral turbinates of the caudal region of the mammalian nasal cavity. Another area of chemosensory tissue located at the floor of the nasal cavity of many mammals, snakes, and amphibians is the vomeronasal organ (see Farbman, 1992; Eisthen, 1997). In both the olfactory epithelium and vomeronasal organ, there are three basic cell types: olfactory receptor neurons, supporting cells, and basal cells. The receptor neurons are primary sensory neurons that are responsible for transducing odorant stimuli. They are bipolar neurons with an axon that projects to the olfactory bulb. The supporting cells can be secretory or ciliated cells that span the sensory epithelium from the apical border to the basal lamina. The basal cells are stem cells that have the ability to divide and differentiate into receptor cells during development and throughout the life of the organism.


Olfactory Bulb Xenopus Laevis Olfactory Epithelium Olfactory System Odorant Receptor 
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© Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gail D. Burd
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Molecular and Cellular BiologyUniversity of ArizonaTucson

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