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The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Cilia- and Flagella-Associated Protein 69 Regulates Olfactory Transduction Kinetics in Mice.


PMID 28495971

Abstract

Animals detect odorous chemicals through specialized olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) that transduce odorants into neural electrical signals. We identified a novel and evolutionarily conserved protein, cilia- and flagella-associated protein 69 (CFAP69), in mice that regulates olfactory transduction kinetics. In the olfactory epithelium, CFAP69 is enriched in OSN cilia, where olfactory transduction occurs. Bioinformatic analysis suggests that a large portion of CFAP69 can form Armadillo-type α-helical repeats, which may mediate protein-protein interactions. OSNs lacking CFAP69, remarkably, displayed faster kinetics in both the on and off phases of electrophysiological responses at both the neuronal ensemble level as observed by electroolfactogram and the single-cell level as observed by single-cell suction pipette recordings. In single-cell analysis, OSNs lacking CFAP69 showed faster response integration and were able to fire APs more faithfully to repeated odor stimuli. Furthermore, both male and female mutant mice that specifically lack CFAP69 in OSNs exhibited attenuated performance in a buried food pellet test when a background of the same odor to the food pellet was present even though they should have better temporal resolution of coding olfactory stimulation at the peripheral. Therefore, the role of CFAP69 in the olfactory system seems to be to allow the olfactory transduction machinery to work at a precisely regulated range of response kinetics for robust olfactory behavior.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Sensory receptor cells are generally thought to evolve to respond to sensory cues as fast as they can. This idea is consistent with mutational analyses in various sensory systems, where mutations of sensory receptor cells often resulted in reduced response size and slowed response kinetics. Contrary to this idea, we have found that there is a kinetic "damper" present in the olfactory transduction cascade of the mouse that slows down the response kinetics and, by doing so, it reduces the peripheral temporal resolution in coding odor stimuli and allows for robust olfactory behavior. This study should trigger a rethinking of the significance of the intrinsic speed of sensory transduction and the pattern of the peripheral coding of sensory stimuli.