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Neuron

Precise circuitry links bilaterally symmetric olfactory maps.


PMID 18498741

Abstract

Olfactory sensory neurons expressing a common receptor gene converge onto one or a few glomeruli with stereotyped positions within the mouse main olfactory bulb (MOB), producing a map of approximately 1800 olfactory columns representing approximately 1000 odorant receptors. Here, we report that this precise olfactory map is maintained over several synapses that ultimately cross MOB hemispheres to link bilateral isofunctional olfactory columns. Focal injection of tracer into genetically identified glomeruli revealed an exquisite topography that involves a bilateral connection via the anterior olfactory nucleus pars externa (AONpE) that links isofunctional olfactory columns in the contralateral MOB. Physiological and behavioral assays revealed an important role for the AONpE in bilateral exchange of odorant-specific information. These results indicate that the interbulbar link through the AONpE integrates bilateral olfactory sensory maps and exchanges olfactory information, positioning it as a unique model system for studying interhemispheric connections.

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