The goal of this project is to elucidate basic principles of olfactory system function and organization. In particular, it seeks to explain the logic by which odors are encoded and the molecular organization of the system that encodes them. The experimental plan takes advantage of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model system, which allows incisive molecular genetic analysis and physiological measurement of individual olfactory cells. The project addresses the molecular and cellular logic of odor coding through three specific aims.
The first aim i s to define the response spectrum and temporal dynamics of virtually the entire repertoire of antennal receptors with respect to a panel of 100 odorants in an in vivo expression system, and to determine whether the receptors can carry out simple logical operations.
The aim i s designed to address central questions about the mechanism of odor coding.
The second aim i s to map odor receptors to neurons, with the goal of testing the extent to which the one receptor-one neuron rule describes olfactory system organization.
The third aim i s to test the hypothesis that two members of the odor receptor gene family encode pheromone receptors that suppress mating behavior. Diseases carried by insects afflict hundreds of millions of people every year, and many of these insects locate their human hosts and their mates through olfactory cues. Advances in the understanding of olfactory and pheromonal reception could lead to new means of controlling these insect vectors of human disease.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Neurodifferentiation, Plasticity, and Regeneration Study Section (NDPR)
Program Officer
Davis, Barry
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Yale University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
New Haven
United States
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Delventhal, R; Menuz, K; Joseph, R et al. (2017) The taste response to ammonia in Drosophila. Sci Rep 7:43754
He, Zhe; Carlson, John R (2017) Molecules That Can Rewire the Taste System. Biochemistry 56:6075-6076
Joseph, Ryan M; Sun, Jennifer S; Tam, Edric et al. (2017) A receptor and neuron that activate a circuit limiting sucrose consumption. Elife 6:
Delventhal, Rebecca; Carlson, John R (2016) Bitter taste receptors confer diverse functions to neurons. Elife 5:
Joseph, Ryan M; Carlson, John R (2015) Drosophila Chemoreceptors: A Molecular Interface Between the Chemical World and the Brain. Trends Genet 31:683-95
Stewart, Shannon; Koh, Tong-Wey; Ghosh, Arpan C et al. (2015) Candidate ionotropic taste receptors in the Drosophila larva. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 112:4195-201
Kwon, Jae Young; Dahanukar, Anupama; Weiss, Linnea A et al. (2014) A map of taste neuron projections in the Drosophila CNS. J Biosci 39:565-74
Koh, Tong-Wey; He, Zhe; Gorur-Shandilya, Srinivas et al. (2014) The Drosophila IR20a clade of ionotropic receptors are candidate taste and pheromone receptors. Neuron 83:850-65
Delventhal, Rebecca; Kiely, Aidan; Carlson, John R (2014) Electrophysiological recording from Drosophila labellar taste sensilla. J Vis Exp :e51355
Ling, Frederick; Dahanukar, Anupama; Weiss, Linnea A et al. (2014) The molecular and cellular basis of taste coding in the legs of Drosophila. J Neurosci 34:7148-64

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