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Evidence accumulating over the past 15 years soundly refutes the dogma that the Drosophila nervous system is hardwired. The preponderance of studies reveals activity-dependent neural circuit refinement driving optimization of behavioral outputs. We describe developmental, sensory input-dependent plasticity in the brain olfactory antennal lobe, which we term long-term central adaption (LTCA). LTCA is evoked by prolonged exposure to an odorant during the first week of posteclosion life, resulting in a persistently decreased response to aversive odors and an enhanced response to attractive odors. This limited window of early-use, experience-dependent plasticity represents a critical period of olfactory circuit refinement tuned by initial sensory input. Consequent behavioral adaptations have been associated with changes in the output of olfactory projection neurons to higher brain centers. Recent studies have indicated a central role for local interneuron signaling in LTCA presentation. Genetic and molecular analyses have implicated the mRNA-binding fragile X mental retardation protein and ataxin-2 regulators, Notch trans-synaptic signaling, and cAMP signal transduction as core regulatory steps driving LTCA. In this article, we discuss the structural, functional, and behavioral changes associated with LTCA and review our current understanding of the molecular pathways underlying these developmental, experience-dependent changes in the olfactory circuitry.
Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society.
The perceptual construct of flavor is built on the basis of interactions between taste and odor processing. Recent work sheds new light on how intimately coupled these two senses are, and call into question conventional views about the 'unisensory' processing of odors.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
The subventricular zone of many adult non-human mammals generates large numbers of new neurons destined for the olfactory bulb. Along the walls of the lateral ventricles, immature neuronal progeny migrate in tangentially oriented chains that coalesce into a rostral migratory stream (RMS) connecting the subventricular zone to the olfactory bulb. The adult human subventricular zone, in contrast, contains a hypocellular gap layer separating the ependymal lining from a periventricular ribbon of astrocytes. Some of these subventricular zone astrocytes can function as neural stem cells in vitro, but their function in vivo remains controversial. An initial report found few subventricular zone proliferating cells and rare migrating immature neurons in the RMS of adult humans. In contrast, a subsequent study indicated robust proliferation and migration in the human subventricular zone and RMS. Here we find that the infant human subventricular zone and RMS contain an extensive corridor of migrating immature neurons before 18 months of age but, contrary to previous reports, this germinal activity subsides in older children and is nearly extinct by adulthood. Surprisingly, during this limited window of neurogenesis, not all new neurons in the human subventricular zone are destined for the olfactory bulb--we describe a major migratory pathway that targets the prefrontal cortex in humans. Together, these findings reveal robust streams of tangentially migrating immature neurons in human early postnatal subventricular zone and cortex. These pathways represent potential targets of neurological injuries affecting neonates.
Anopheles gambiae is the principal Afrotropical vector for human malaria, in which olfaction mediates a wide range of both adult and larval behaviors. Indeed, mosquitoes depend on the ability to respond to chemical cues for feeding, host preference, and mate location/selection. Building upon previous work that has characterized a large family of An. gambiae odorant receptors (AgORs), we now use behavioral analyses and gene silencing to examine directly the role of AgORs, as well as a newly identified family of candidate chemosensory genes, the An. gambiae variant ionotropic receptors (AgIRs), in the larval olfactory system. Our results validate previous studies that directly implicate specific AgORs in behavioral responses to DEET as well as other odorants and reveal the existence of at least two distinct olfactory signaling pathways that are active in An. gambiae. One system depends directly on AgORs; the other is AgOR-independent and requires the expression and activity of AgIRs. In addition to clarifying the mechanistic basis for olfaction in this system, these advances may ultimately enhance the development of vector control strategies, targeting olfactory pathways in mosquitoes to reduce the catastrophic effects of malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases.
The mosquito Anopheles gambiae is the major vector of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. It locates its human hosts primarily through olfaction, but little is known about the molecular basis of this process. Here we functionally characterize the Anopheles gambiae odorant receptor (AgOr) repertoire. We identify receptors that respond strongly to components of human odour and that may act in the process of human recognition. Some of these receptors are narrowly tuned, and some salient odorants elicit strong responses from only one or a few receptors, suggesting a central role for specific transmission channels in human host-seeking behaviour. This analysis of the Anopheles gambiae receptors permits a comparison with the corresponding Drosophila melanogaster odorant receptor repertoire. We find that odorants are differentially encoded by the two species in ways consistent with their ecological needs. Our analysis of the Anopheles gambiae repertoire identifies receptors that may be useful targets for controlling the transmission of malaria.
The piriform cortex (PC) is the primary terminal zone of projections from the olfactory bulb, termed the lateral olfactory tract (LOT). The PC plays a critical role in processing of olfactory stimuli and is also a highly seizure prone area thought to be involved in some forms of temporal lobe epilepsy. Pharmacological and immunohistochemical studies provide evidence for the localization of various metabotropic glutamate receptors (GluRs) in the PC. We employed whole-cell patch clamp recordings from PC pyramidal cells to determine the roles of group III mGluRs in modulating synaptic transmission at the LOT-PC synapse. The group III mGluR agonist, L-AP4, induced a concentration-dependent inhibition of synaptic transmission at the LOT-PC synapse at concentrations that activate mGluR4 and mGluR8, but not mGluR7 or other mGluR subtypes (EC50=473nM). In addition, the selective mGluR8 agonist, DCPG (300nM), also suppressed synaptic transmission at the LOT synapse. Furthermore, the inhibitory actions of L-AP4 and Z-cyclopentyl-AP4, a selective mGluR4 agonist, were potentiated by the mGluR4 positive allosteric modulator, PHCCC (30microM). The high potency of L-AP4, combined with the observed effects of DCPG and PHCCC, suggests that both mGluR4 and mGluR8 play a role in the l-AP4-induced inhibition of synaptic transmission at the LOT-PC synapse.
The mosquito Anopheles gambiae is the principal Afrotropical vector for human malaria. A central component of its vectorial capacity is the ability to maintain sufficient populations of adults. During both adult and preadult (larval) stages, the mosquitoes depend on the ability to recognize and respond to chemical cues that mediate feeding and survival. In this study, we used a behavioral assay to identify a range of odorant-specific responses of An. gambiae larvae that are dependent on the integrity of the larval antennae. Parallel molecular analyses have identified a subset of the An. gambiae odorant receptors (AgOrs) that are localized to discrete neurons within the larval antennae and facilitate odor-evoked responses in Xenopus oocytes that are consistent with the larval behavioral spectrum. These studies shed light on chemosensory-driven behaviors and represent molecular and cellular characterization of olfactory processes in mosquito larvae. These advances may ultimately enhance the development of vector control strategies, targeting olfactory pathways in larval-stage mosquitoes to reduce the catastrophic effects of malaria and other diseases.
Insect sensory arrestins act to desensitize visual and olfactory signal transduction pathways, as evidenced by the phenotypic effects of mutations in the genes encoding both Arr1 and Arr2 in Drosophila melanogaster. To assess whether such arrestins play similar roles in other, more medically relevant dipterans, we examined the ability of Anopheles gambiae sensory arrestin homologs AgArr1 and AgArr2 to rescue phenotypes associated with an olfactory deficit observed in D. melanogaster arrestin mutants. Of these, only AgArr1 facilitated significant phenotypic rescue of the corresponding Drosophila arr mutant olfactory phenotype, consistent with the view that functional orthology is shared by these Arr1 homologs. These results represent the first step in the functional characterization of AgArr1, which is highly expressed in olfactory appendages of An. gambiae in which it is likely to play an essential role in olfactory signal transduction. In addition to providing insight into the common elements of the peripheral olfactory system of dipterans, this work validates the importance of AgArr1 as a potential target for novel anti-malaria strategies that focus on olfactory-based behaviors in An. gambiae.
The proboscis is an important head appendage in insects that has primarily been thought to process gustatory information during food intake. Indeed, in Drosophila and other insects in which they have been identified, most gustatory receptors are expressed in proboscis neurons. Our previous characterization of the expression of AgOR7, a highly conserved odorant receptor (OR) of the Afrotropical malaria vector mosquito Anopheles gambiae in the labellum at the tip of the proboscis was suggestive of a potential olfactory function in this mosquito appendage. To test this hypothesis, we used electrophysiological recording and neuronal tracing, and carried out a molecular characterization of candidate OR expression in the labellum of A. gambiae. These studies have uncovered a set of labial olfactory responses to a small spectrum of human-related odorants, such as isovaleric acid, butylamine, and several ketones and oxocarboxylic acids. Molecular analyses indicated that at least 24 conventional OR genes are expressed throughout the proboscis. Furthermore, to more fully examine AgOR expression within this tissue, we characterized the AgOR profile within a single labial olfactory sensillum. This study provides compelling data to support the hypothesis that a cryptic set of olfactory neurons that respond to a small set of odorants are present in the mouth parts of hematophagous mosquitoes. This result is consistent with an important role for the labellum in the close-range discrimination of bloodmeal hosts that directly impacts the ability of A. gambiae to transmit malaria and other diseases.
It is widely accepted that the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) represents the main neocortical target of primary olfactory cortex. In non-human primates, the olfactory neocortex is situated along the basal surface of the caudal frontal lobes, encompassing agranular and dysgranular OFC medially and agranular insula laterally, where this latter structure wraps onto the posterior orbital surface. Direct afferent inputs arrive from most primary olfactory areas, including piriform cortex, amygdala, and entorhinal cortex, in the absence of an obligatory thalamic relay. While such findings are almost exclusively derived from animal data, recent cytoarchitectonic studies indicate a close anatomical correspondence between non-human primate and human OFC. Given this cross-species conservation of structure, it has generally been presumed that the olfactory projection area in human OFC occupies the same posterior portions of OFC as seen in non-human primates. This review questions this assumption by providing a critical survey of the localization of primate and human olfactory neocortex. Based on a meta-analysis of human functional neuroimaging studies, the region of human OFC showing the greatest olfactory responsivity appears substantially rostral and in a different cytoarchitectural area than the orbital olfactory regions as defined in the monkey. While this anatomical discrepancy may principally arise from methodological differences across species, these results have implications for the interpretation of prior human lesion and neuroimaging studies and suggest constraints upon functional extrapolations from animal data.