The present study has taken advantage of publicly available cell type specific mRNA expression databases in order to identify potential genes participating in the development of retinal AII amacrine cells. We profile two such genes, Delta/Notch-like EGF repeat containing (Dner) and nuclear factor I/A (Nfia), that are each heavily expressed in AII amacrine cells in the mature mouse retina, and which conjointly identify this retinal cell population in its entirety when using antibodies to DNER and NFIA. DNER is present on the plasma membrane, while NFIA is confined to the nucleus, consistent with known functions of each of these two proteins. DNER also identifies some other subsets of retinal ganglion and amacrine cell types, along with horizontal cells, while NFIA identifies a subset of bipolar cells as well as Muller glia and astrocytes. During early postnatal development, NFIA labels astrocytes on the day of birth, AII amacrine cells at postnatal (P) day 5, and Muller glia by P10, when horizontal cells also transiently exhibit NFIA immunofluorescence. DNER, by contrast, is present in ganglion and amacrine cells on P1, also labeling the horizontal cells by P10. Developing AII amacrine cells exhibit accumulating DNER labeling at the dendritic stalk, labeling that becomes progressively conspicuous by P10, as it is in maturity. This developmental time course is consistent with a prospective role for each gene in the differentiation of AII amacrine cells.
The embryonic development of the olfactory nerve includes the differentiation of cells within the olfactory placode, migration of cells into the mesenchyme from the placode, and extension of axons by the olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs). The coalition of both placode-derived migratory cells and OSN axons within the mesenchyme is collectively termed the "migratory mass." Here we address the sequence and coordination of the events that give rise to the migratory mass. Using neuronal and developmental markers, we show subpopulations of neurons emerging from the placode by embryonic day (E)10, a time at which the migratory mass is largely cellular and only a few isolated OSN axons are seen, prior to the first appearance of OSN axon fascicles at E11. These neurons also precede the emergence of the gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons and ensheathing glia which are also resident in the mesenchyme as part of the migratory mass beginning at about E11. The data reported here begin to establish a spatiotemporal framework for the migration of molecularly heterogeneous placode-derived cells in the mesenchyme. The precocious emigration of the early arriving neurons in the mesenchyme suggests they may serve as "guidepost cells" that contribute to the establishment of a scaffold for the extension and coalescence of the OSN axons.