Olfactory neural circuits generate tens of thousands of distinct perceptions and influence innate behaviors, such as feeding, and in many mammals, pheromone responses such as fighting and mating. Mammals have two principal olfactory tissues: the main olfactory epithelium and the vomeronasal organ, each of which contains large families of dedicated sensory receptors and activates distinct neuronal circuits. We recently identified two non-canonical families of mammalian chemosensory receptors that are distinct from previously described odorant and vomeronasal receptors. In this proposal, we aim to understand the evolution, cellular organization, and chemoreceptive fields of these novel sensory receptors, to provide additional insight into the molecular mechanisms that underlie olfaction in mammals.

Public Health Relevance

Olfaction is a valuable model system to study general functions of the human brain that are not well understood, including perception and behavior. Furthermore, neural circuit dysfunction underlies a range of cognitive and emotional disorders, so principles that emerge from studying sensory circuit function will potentially have a broad impact on human health.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01DC010155-04
Application #
8277366
Study Section
Somatosensory and Chemosensory Systems Study Section (SCS)
Program Officer
Sullivan, Susan L
Project Start
2009-07-01
Project End
2014-06-30
Budget Start
2012-07-01
Budget End
2013-06-30
Support Year
4
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$406,088
Indirect Cost
$166,508
Name
Harvard University
Department
Anatomy/Cell Biology
Type
Schools of Medicine
DUNS #
047006379
City
Boston
State
MA
Country
United States
Zip Code
02115
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Ferrero, David M; Wacker, Daniel; Roque, Miguel A et al. (2012) Agonists for 13 trace amine-associated receptors provide insight into the molecular basis of odor selectivity. ACS Chem Biol 7:1184-9
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