Olfactory neurons adapt to the surrounding environment

Cross-section of the nasal cavity of a mouse (wide view). Within the dense population of olfactory neurons (in blue), the olfactory neurons expressing a specific type of receptor (Olfr151) are marked in bright green. © Madlaina Boillat

Olfactory receptors, present on the surface of sensory neurons in the nasal cavity, recognize odorant molecules and relay this information to the brain. How do these neurons manage to detect a large variability of signals and adapt to different levels of stimulation? Ivan Rodriguez‘s and Alan Carleton‘s groups investigated the gene expression profile of these neurons in the presence or absence of odorant stimulation. The scientists discovered an unsuspected variability in these profiles depending on the expressed olfactory receptor and previous exposure to odors. These results highlight a wide range of identities of olfactory neurons, and their adaptation to the surrounding environment.

The article was published in the journal Nature Communications on May 25, 2022.

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