Article

Activity regulates functional connectivity from the vomeronasal organ to the accessory olfactory bulb.

Department of Biological Sciences, Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.
Journal of Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.91). 06/2012; 32(23):7907-16. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2399-11.2012
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The mammalian accessory olfactory system is specialized for the detection of chemicals that identify kin and conspecifics. Vomeronasal sensory neurons (VSNs) residing in the vomeronasal organ project axons to the accessory olfactory bulb (AOB), where they form synapses with principal neurons known as mitral cells. The organization of this projection is quite precise and is believed to be essential for appropriate function of this system. However, how this precise connectivity is established is unknown. We show here that in mice the vomeronasal duct is open at birth, allowing external chemical stimuli access to sensory neurons, and that these sensory neurons are capable of releasing neurotransmitter to downstream neurons as early as the first postnatal day (P). Using major histocompatibility complex class I peptides to activate a selective subset of VSNs during the first few postnatal days of development, we show that increased activity results in exuberant VSN axonal projections and a delay in axonal coalescence into well defined glomeruli in the AOB. Finally, we show that mitral cell dendritic refinement occurs just after the coalescence of presynaptic axons. Such a mechanism may allow the formation of precise connectivity with specific glomeruli that receive input from sensory neurons expressing the same receptor type.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
94 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: So far most studies on adult neurogenesis aimed to unravel mechanisms and molecules regulating the integration of newly generated neurons in the mature brain parenchyma. The exceedingly abundant amount of results that followed, rather than being beneficial in the perspective of brain repair, provided a clear evidence that adult neurogenesis constitutes a necessary feature to the correct functioning of the hosting brain regions. In particular, the rodent olfactory system represents a privileged model to study how neuronal plasticity and neurogenesis interact with sensory functions. Until recently, the vomeronasal system (VNS) has been commonly described as being specialized in the detection of innate chemosignals. Accordingly, its circuitry has been considered necessarily stable, if not hard-wired, in order to allow stereotyped behavioral responses. However, both first and second order projections of the rodent VNS continuously change their synaptic connectivity due to ongoing postnatal and adult neurogenesis. How the functional integrity of a neuronal circuit is maintained while newborn neurons are continuously added-or lost-is a fundamental question for both basic and applied neuroscience. The VNS is proposed as an alternative model to answer such question. Hereby the underlying motivations will be reviewed.
    Frontiers in neuroscience. 01/2014; 8:102.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The accessory olfactory system controls social and sexual interactions in mice that are crucial for survival. Vomeronasal sensory neurons (VSNs) form synapses with dendrites of second order neurons in glomeruli of the accessory olfactory bulb (AOB). Axons of VSNs expressing the same vomeronasal receptor coalesce into multiple glomeruli within spatially conserved regions of the AOB. Here we examine the role of the Kirrel family of transmembrane proteins in the coalescence of VSN axons within the AOB. We find that Kirrel2 and Kirrel3 are differentially expressed in subpopulations of VSNs and that their expression is regulated by activity. Although Kirrel3 expression is not required for early axonal guidance events, such as fasciculation of the vomeronasal tract and segregation of apical and basal VSN axons in the AOB, it is necessary for proper coalescence of axons into glomeruli. Ablation of Kirrel3 expression results in disorganization of the glomerular layer of the posterior AOB and formation of fewer, larger glomeruli. Furthermore, Kirrel3(-/-) mice display a loss of male-male aggression in a resident-intruder assay. Taken together, our results indicate that differential expression of Kirrels on vomeronasal axons generates a molecular code that dictates their proper coalescence into glomeruli within the AOB.
    Development 05/2013; · 6.60 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Rodents rely on olfactory stimuli to communicate information between conspecifics that is critical for health and survival. For example, rodents that detect a food odor simultaneously with the social odor carbon disulfide (CS2) will acquire a preference for that food. Disruption of the chemosensory transduction cascade in CS2-sensitive olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) that express the receptor guanylyl cyclase type D (GC-D; GC-D+ OSNs) will prevent mice from acquiring these preferences. GC-D+ OSNs also respond to the natriuretic peptide uroguanylin, which is excreted into urine and feces. We analyzed if uroguanylin could also act as a social stimulus to promote the acquisition of food preferences. We found that feces of mice that had eaten odored food, but not unodored food, promoted a strong preference for that food in mice exposed to the feces. Olfactory exploration of uroguanylin presented with a food odor similarly produced a preference that was absent when mice were exposed to the food odor alone. Finally, the acquisition of this preference was dependent on GC-D+ OSNs, as mice lacking GC-D (Gucy2d(-)(/-) mice) showed no preference for the demonstrated food. Together with our previous findings, these results demonstrate that the diverse activators of GC-D+ OSNs elicit a common behavioral result and suggest that this specialized olfactory subsystem acts as a labeled line for a type of associative olfactory learning.
    Chemical Senses 04/2013; · 3.22 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Download
27 Downloads
Available from
May 22, 2014