Finding the target: How timing is critical in establishing an olfactory wiring map

Finding the target: How timing is critical in establishing an olfactory wiring map

A developmental window during which olfactory neurons of newborn mice can form a proper wiring map has been identified by researchers. They show that if incorrect neuronal connections are maintained after this period, renewing cells will also be mis-wired. The human nose expresses nearly 400 odorant receptors, which allow us to distinguish a large number of scents. In mice the number of odor receptors is closer to 1000. Each olfactory neuron displays only a single type of receptor and all neurons with the same receptors are connected to the same spot, a glomerulus, in the brain.

via Top Health News — ScienceDaily:

The human nose expresses nearly 400 odorant receptors, which allow us to distinguish a large number of scents. In mice the number of odor receptors is closer to 1000. Each olfactory neuron displays only a single type of receptor and all neurons with the same receptors are connected to the same spot, a glomerulus, in the brain. This convergence, or wiring pattern, is often described as an olfactory map. The map is important because it serves as a code book for odorants that allows the brain to distinguish between food odors and the scent of a predator, among others.Unlike photoreceptors in the retina or hair cells in the inner ear, which cannot be replaced once damaged, olfactory neurons have the unique capacity to regenerate throughout the life. More remarkably, the regenerated neurons must dispatch their axons on a path through the nasal epithelium to the brain through a distance a thousand times the length of the cell, where they make the proper connections. If regenerating neurons are mis-wired to different glomeruli, odor perception would be altered.In the April 11, 2014 issue of Science, Associate Investigator C. Ron Yu, Ph.D. and colleagues at the Stowers Institute of Medical Research identify a developmental window during which olfactory neurons of newborn mice can form a proper wiring map. They show that if incorrect neuronal connections are maintained after this period, renewing cells will also be mis-wired.Their results also hint at how the olfactory neurons connect to their targets. …

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Top Health News — ScienceDaily

Finding the target: How timing is critical in establishing an olfactory wiring map

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