Sensing the environment : a role for the mouse olfactory subsystems


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ID Serval
Thèse: thèse de doctorat.
Sensing the environment : a role for the mouse olfactory subsystems
Brechbühl J.
Broillet M.-C.
Détails de l'institution
Université de Lausanne, Faculté de biologie et médecine
Faculté de biologie et de médecine Université de Lausanne UNIL - Bugnon Rue du Bugnon 21 - bureau 4111 CH-1015 Lausanne SUISSE
Statut éditorial
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REROID:R005529206 ill.
Summary :
Four distinct olfactory subsystems compose the mouse olfactory system, the main olfactory epithelium (MOE), the septal organ of Masera (SO), the vomeronasal organ (VNO) and the Grueneberg ganglion (GG). They are implicated in the sensory modalities of the animal and they evolved to analyse and discriminate molecules carrying chemical messages, such as odorants and pheromones. In this thesis, the VNO, principally implicated in pheromonal communications as well as the GG, which had no function attributed until this work, were investigated from their morphology to their physiological functions, using an array of biochemical and physiological methods.
First, the roles of a particular protein, the CNGA4 ion channel, were investigated in the VNO. In the MOE, CNGA4 is expressed as a modulatory channel subunit implicated in odour discrimination and adaptation. Interestingly, this calcium channel is the unique member of the cyclic nucleotide-gated (CNG) family to be expressed in the VNO and up to this work its functions remained unknown. Using a combination of transgenic and knockout mice, as well as histological and physiological approaches, we have characterized CNGA4 expression in the VNO. A strong expression in immature neurons was found as well as in the microvilli of mature neurons (putative site of chemodetection). Interestingly and confirming its dual localisation, the genetic invalidation of the CNGA4 channel has, as consequences, a strong impairment in vomeronasal maturation as well as deficit in pheromone sensing. Thus the CNGA4 channel appears to be a multifunctional protein in the mouse VNO playing essential role(s) in this organ.
During the second part of the work, the morphology of the most recently described olfactory subsystem, the Grueneberg ganglion, was investigated in detail. Interestingly we found that glial cells and ciliated neurons compose this olfactory ganglion. This particular morphological aspect was similar to the olfactory AWC neurons from C. elegans which was used for further comparisons. Thus as for AWC neurons, we found that GG neurons are sensitive to temperature changes and are able to detect highly volatile molecules. Indeed, the presence of alarm pheromones (APs) secreted by stressed mice, elicit strong cellular responses, as well as a GG dependent behavioural changes. Investigations on the signaling elements present in GG neurons revealed that, as for AWC neurons, or pGC-D expressing neurons from the MOE, proteins participating in a cGMP pathway were found in GG neurons such as pGC-G and CNGA3 channels. These two proteins might be implicated in chemosensing as well as in thermosensing, two apparent properties of this organ.
In this thesis, the multisensory modalities of two mouse olfactory subsystems were described and are related to a high degree of complexity required for the animal to sense its environment
Création de la notice
17/11/2010 13:48
Dernière modification de la notice
20/08/2019 17:01
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