Neurons that fire alike are connected in the olfactory map

June 06, 2019

Filling a notable gap in scientists' understanding of how cells respond to "smells" and signal to underlying neurons, researchers report that the activated cell receptors cause their cells not simply to fire, but to fire in specific patterns. Then, cells with the same firing patterns end up connected at the same nerve clusters, or glomeruli, in the brain's olfactory bulb. With this strategy, the authors say, neurons with overlapping features can generate variation in their ability to respond to sensory cues related to smell. Previous work has shown that olfactory receptors (ORs) participate in wiring the mouse olfactory system through their signaling activity and its effects on neurons, including the olfactory receptor neuron (ORN). Whether this activity actually informs the wiring of the brain's olfactory system has been unclear, however. Here, to investigate the potential instructive role of neural activity in this process, Ai Nakashima and colleagues used a series of in vitro experiments and mouse studies where they changed neural activity patterns through optogenetics and studied the effects on the expression of molecules important in the olfactory system. They report that different patterns of activity in olfactory sensory neurons altered expression of molecules in nerve endings - targeting them to specific nerve clusters in the olfactory bulb. Neural activity appears to drive expression of key proteins in the olfactory system not simply by driving neural firing, they say; rather, specific features of neural activity are important to the patterns of gene expression in this process.

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Neurons Articles from Brightsurf:

Paying attention to the neurons behind our alertness
The neurons of layer 6 - the deepest layer of the cortex - were examined by researchers from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University to uncover how they react to sensory stimulation in different behavioral states.

Trying to listen to the signal from neurons
Toyohashi University of Technology has developed a coaxial cable-inspired needle-electrode.

A mechanical way to stimulate neurons
Magnetic nanodiscs can be activated by an external magnetic field, providing a research tool for studying neural responses.

Extraordinary regeneration of neurons in zebrafish
Biologists from the University of Bayreuth have discovered a uniquely rapid form of regeneration in injured neurons and their function in the central nervous system of zebrafish.

Dopamine neurons mull over your options
Researchers at the University of Tsukuba have found that dopamine neurons in the brain can represent the decision-making process when making economic choices.

Neurons thrive even when malnourished
When animal, insect or human embryos grow in a malnourished environment, their developing nervous systems get first pick of any available nutrients so that new neurons can be made.

The first 3D map of the heart's neurons
An interdisciplinary research team establishes a new technological pipeline to build a 3D map of the neurons in the heart, revealing foundational insight into their role in heart attacks and other cardiac conditions.

Mapping the neurons of the rat heart in 3D
A team of researchers has developed a virtual 3D heart, digitally showcasing the heart's unique network of neurons for the first time.

How to put neurons into cages
Football-shaped microscale cages have been created using special laser technologies.

A molecule that directs neurons
A research team coordinated by the University of Trento studied a mass of brain cells, the habenula, linked to disorders like autism, schizophrenia and depression.

Read More: Neurons News and Neurons Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to