Immunodetection and localization of nitric oxide synthase in the olfactory center of the terrestrial snail, Helix pomatia.
The procerebrum of stylommatophoran snails produces nitric oxide (NO)-modulated oscillatory local field potentials which are considered the basis of olfactory information processing. Although the function of NO is well characterized in the PC, the identification and distribution of NO synthase (NOS) has not known completely. In the present study, applying a mammalian anti-NOS antibody, a 170 kDa molecular weight NOS-like protein was demonstrated in the procerebrum homogenate of Helix pomatia. NOS-like immunolabeling of the globuli cells, the internal and terminal neuropils displayed an identical distribution compared to that of NADPH-diaphorase reactive material, confirming the specificity of immunohistochemistry. The detailed characteristics of the immunostaining (different intensity of the neural perikarya, a gradual appearance in the terminal neuropil and in the axon bundles of the tentacular nerve, as well as an intense, homogeneous distribution of NOS-like immunoreactivity in the internal neuropil) suggest that NOS is expressed constitutively, maintaining a high level of the enzyme in neuropil areas. NOS accumulation in the internal neuropil suggests that NO plays an important role in delivering olfactory signals extrinsic to the procerebrum, and integrating them with other sensory modalities, respectively. Our results are the first, demonstrating unequivocally the presence of NOS and resolving its differential distribution in the Helix procerebrum.