Activity regulates functional connectivity from the vomeronasal organ to the accessory olfactory bulb.
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.
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ABSTRACT: No models fully account for how odorant receptors (ORs) function in the guidance of axons of olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) to glomeruli in the olfactory bulb. Here, we use gene targeting in mice to demonstrate that the OR amino acid sequence imparts OSN axons with an identity that allows them to coalesce into glomeruli. Replacements between the coding regions of the M71 and M72 OR genes reroute axons to their respective glomeruli. A series of M71-M72 hybrid ORs uncover a spectrum of glomerular phenotypes, leading to the concept that the identity of OSN axons is revealed depending on what other axons are present. Naturally occurring amino acid polymorphisms in other ORs also produce distinct axonal identities. These critical amino acid residues are distributed throughout the protein and reside predominantly within transmembrane domains. We propose a contextual model for axon guidance in which ORs mediate homotypic interactions between like axons.Cell 07/2004; 117(6):817-31. · 32.40 Impact Factor
Article: Formation of precise connections in the olfactory bulb occurs in the absence of odorant-evoked neuronal activity.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Olfactory neurons expressing the same odorant receptor converge to a small number of glomeruli in the olfactory bulb. In turn, mitral and tufted cells receive and relay this information to higher cortical regions. In other sensory systems, correlated neuronal activity is thought to refine synaptic connections during development. We asked whether the pattern of connections between olfactory sensory axons and mitral cell dendrites is affected when odor-evoked signaling is eliminated in mice lacking functional olfactory cyclic nucleotide-gated (CNG) channels. We demonstrate that olfactory sensory axons converge normally in the CNG channel mutant background. We further show that the pruning of mitral cell dendrites, although slowed during development, is ultimately unperturbed in mutant animals. Thus, the olfactory CNG channel-and by inference correlated neural activity--is not required for generating synaptic specificity in the olfactory bulb.Neuron 05/2000; 26(1):69-80. · 14.74 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In mammals, the detection of pheromones is mediated by the vomeronasal system. We have employed gene targeting to visualize the pattern of projections of axons from vomeronasal sensory neurons in the accessory olfactory bulb. Neurons expressing a specific receptor project to multiple glomeruli that reside within spatially restricted domains. The formation of this sensory map in the accessory olfactory bulb and the survival of vomeronasal organ sensory neurons require the expression of pheromone receptors. In addition, we observe individual glomeruli in the accessory olfactory bulb that receive input from more than one type of sensory neuron. These observations indicate that the organization of the vomeronasal sensory afferents is dramatically different from that of the main olfactory system, and these differences have important implications for the logic of olfactory coding in the vomeronasal organ.Cell 05/1999; 97(2):209-20. · 32.40 Impact Factor