olfaction; vomeronasal organ; pheromone perception; olfactory receptors
Boillat Madlaina, Hammoudi Pierre-Mehdi, Dogga Sunil Kumar, Pagès Stéphane, Goubran Maged, Rodriguez Ivan, Soldati-Favre Dominique (2020), Neuroinflammation-Associated Aspecific Manipulation of Mouse Predator Fear by Toxoplasma gondii, in Cell Reports
, 30(2), 320-334.e6.
Marissal Thomas, Salazar Rodrigo F., Bertollini Cristina, Mutel Sophie, De Roo Mathias, Rodriguez Ivan, Müller Dominique, Carleton Alan (2018), Restoring wild-type-like CA1 network dynamics and behavior during adulthood in a mouse model of schizophrenia, in Nature Neuroscience
, 21(10), 1412-1420.
Dietschi Quentin, Tuberosa Joël, Rösingh Lone, Loichot Gregory, Ruedi Manuel, Carleton Alan, Rodriguez Ivan (2017), Evolution of immune chemoreceptors into sensors of the outside world, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
, 114(28), 7397-7402.
Yamada Yoshiyuki, Bhaukaurally Khaleel, Madarász Tamás J., Pouget Alexandre, Rodriguez Ivan, Carleton Alan (2017), Context- and Output Layer-Dependent Long-Term Ensemble Plasticity in a Sensory Circuit, in Neuron
, 93(5), 1198-1212.e5.
During their lifetime, all life forms are exposed to pathogenic agents. The risk for an individual to be infected by a virus or a bacteria depends on its ecological niche and habits. Thus, social species are at a high risk of contagion, simply because of their repeated interactions with members of their own group. During evolution, tools allowing social species to evaluate the health status of their conspecifics have been selected. What these tools measure and evaluate include visual, acoustic or temperature cues associated with sickness. But in many mammals, and in particular in rodents, sick conspecific detection is mediated by the olfactory system.We recently reported that in mice, sick conspecific avoidance is dependent on vomeronasal function. This chemosensory tool is separated from the main olfactory system, both at a physical and at a functional level. In mice, its role is critical in mediating innate and stereotyped activities or reactions, which are essentially linked to reproduction or to response to predators. These vomeronasal-dependent behaviors are quite limited in number, and comprise female sexual behavior, male sexual preference, inhibition of male sexual behavior towards juveniles, and predator avoidance.Our pointing to the vomeronasal system as the sensor of disease-related compounds opens a new line of research. It is this line of research that we propose to explore here. We will first identify the chemical compounds that are recognized by mice as markers of disease. We will then determine, among the OR, FPR, V1r and V2r chemoreceptor genes expressed by vomeronasal sensory neurons, which ones direct the production of the sensors that recognize these disease-related compounds. The ones critical for avoidance will be identified. Finally, we will explore and dissect the neural circuitry that processes signals involved in health status assessment.