Article: article from journal or magazin.
Identification of pyridine analogs as new predator-derived kairomones.
Frontiers In Neuroscience
Publication types: In OA
In the wild, animals have developed survival strategies relying on their senses. The individual ability to identify threatening situations is crucial and leads to increase in the overall fitness of the species. Rodents, for example have developed in their nasal cavities specialized olfactory neurons implicated in the detection of volatile cues encoding for impending danger such as predator scents or alarm pheromones. In particular, the neurons of the Grueneberg ganglion (GG), an olfactory subsystem, are implicated in the detection of danger cues sharing a similar chemical signature, a heterocyclic sulfur- or nitrogen-containing motif. Here we used a "from the wild to the lab" approach to identify new molecules that are involuntarily emitted by predators and that initiate fear-related responses in the recipient animal, the putative prey. We collected urines from carnivores as sources of predator scents and first verified their impact on the blood pressure of the mice. With this approach, the urine of the mountain lion emerged as the most potent source of chemical stress. We then identified in this biological fluid, new volatile cues with characteristic GG-related fingerprints, in particular the methylated pyridine structures, 2,4-lutidine and its analogs. We finally verified their encoded danger quality and demonstrated their ability to mimic the effects of the predator urine on GG neurons, on mice blood pressure and in behavioral experiments. In summary, we were able to identify here, with the use of an integrative approach, new relevant molecules, the pyridine analogs, implicated in interspecies danger communication.
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