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Article: article from journal or magazin.
Mouse alarm pheromone shares structural similarity with predator scents.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Publication types: Journal Article Publication Status: ppublish
Sensing the chemical warnings present in the environment is essential for species survival. In mammals, this form of danger communication occurs via the release of natural predator scents that can involuntarily warn the prey or by the production of alarm pheromones by the stressed prey alerting its conspecifics. Although we previously identified the olfactory Grueneberg ganglion as the sensory organ through which mammalian alarm pheromones signal a threatening situation, the chemical nature of these cues remains elusive. We here identify, through chemical analysis in combination with a series of physiological and behavioral tests, the chemical structure of a mouse alarm pheromone. To successfully recognize the volatile cues that signal danger, we based our selection on their activation of the mouse olfactory Grueneberg ganglion and the concomitant display of innate fear reactions. Interestingly, we found that the chemical structure of the identified mouse alarm pheromone has similar features as the sulfur-containing volatiles that are released by predating carnivores. Our findings thus not only reveal a chemical Leitmotiv that underlies signaling of fear, but also point to a double role for the olfactory Grueneberg ganglion in intraspecies as well as interspecies communication of danger.
Olfaction, Animal communication, Behavior, Calcium imaging
Web of science
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