This project is designed to reveal basic principles of olfactory system function. It investigates the logic that connects odor receptor responses to behavioral responses in a numerically simple olfactory system. The experimental plan takes advantage of the Drosophila larva, which contains 21 olfactory receptor neurons and ~21 functional odor receptors. This system allows incisive molecular genetic analysis as well as convenient behavioral analysis. The first specific aim proposes analysis of the sensory input into the larval olfactory system. It considers the sensitivity, tuning, and diversity of the entire larval receptor repertoire, analyzed in a functional expression system. Particular attention is paid to a special class of remarkably long-lasting physiological responses, or "supersustained" responses.
The second aim proposes analysis of the behavioral output of the system. The behavior elicited by the most effective odor for each receptor is measured, determining whether each odor produces attraction or repulsion. The behavior elicited by pairs of odors is then analyzed. An important goal is to examine the additivity of odors that activate distinct subsets of receptors, and to compare it to the additivity of odors that activate overlapping subsets of receptors.
The third aim concerns the molecular and cellular logic by which the sensory input is translated into the behavioral output. An attractive response is analyzed to determine whether it consists of discrete elements that depend on different receptors. Repellent responses are investigated to determine whether they depend on excitation or inhibition of particular receptors.
The final aim examines supersustained physiological responses and determines whether these long- lasting responses compromise the ability of an animal to locate an odor source. The results may advance our understanding of the information flow through a simple model olfactory system. The results may also have special implications for the control of insect vectors of disease. Hundreds of millions of people each year suffer from diseases transmitted by insects, many of which locate humans through olfactory cues. An improved understanding of the principles of insect olfaction could lead to improved means of controlling these insects and the diseases they transmit.

Public Health Relevance

Insects transmit disease to hundreds of millions of people each year. Many insects detect humans through their sense of smell. This project is designed to reveal basic principles of insect olfaction and could be useful in developing new means of preventing insects from locating humans.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01DC002174-26
Application #
8209267
Study Section
Neurodifferentiation, Plasticity, and Regeneration Study Section (NDPR)
Program Officer
Sullivan, Susan L
Project Start
1994-01-01
Project End
2013-12-31
Budget Start
2012-01-01
Budget End
2012-12-31
Support Year
26
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$336,282
Indirect Cost
$132,639
Name
Yale University
Department
Biochemistry
Type
Schools of Arts and Sciences
DUNS #
043207562
City
New Haven
State
CT
Country
United States
Zip Code
06520
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Koh, Tong-Wey; Carlson, John R (2013) Interspecies sex and taste. Cell 154:20-1
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Montague, Shelby A; Mathew, Dennis; Carlson, John R (2011) Similar odorants elicit different behavioral and physiological responses, some supersustained. J Neurosci 31:7891-9
Kwon, Jae Young; Dahanukar, Anupama; Weiss, Linnea A et al. (2011) Molecular and cellular organization of the taste system in the Drosophila larva. J Neurosci 31:15300-9
Tom, W; de Bruyne, M; Haehnel, M et al. (2011) Disruption of olfactory receptor neuron patterning in Scutoid mutant Drosophila. Mol Cell Neurosci 46:252-61
Yao, C Andrea; Carlson, John R (2010) Role of G-proteins in odor-sensing and CO2-sensing neurons in Drosophila. J Neurosci 30:4562-72
Bai, Lei; Carlson, John R (2010) Distinct functions of acj6 splice forms in odor receptor gene choice. J Neurosci 30:5028-36
Carey, Allison F; Wang, Guirong; Su, Chih-Ying et al. (2010) Odorant reception in the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae. Nature 464:66-71

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