The accessory olfactory bulb (AOB) is a critical olfactory structure that has been implicated in mediating social behavior. It receives input from the vomeronasal organ and projects to targets in the amygdaloid complex. Its anterior and posterior components (aAOB and pAOB) display molecular, connectional and functional segregation in processing reproductive and defensive and aggressive behaviors, respectively. We observed a dichotomy in the development of the projection neurons of the aAOB and pAOB in mice. We found that they had distinct sites of origin and that different regulatory molecules were required for their specification and migration. aAOB neurons arose locally in the rostral telencephalon, similar to main olfactory bulb neurons. In contrast, pAOB neurons arose caudally, from the neuroepithelium of the diencephalic-telencephalic boundary, from which they migrated rostrally to reach their destination. This unusual origin and migration is conserved in Xenopus, providing an insight into the origin of a key component of this system in evolution.
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