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Sick conspecific avoidance - molecules, vomeronasal receptors and neural circuits

English title Sick conspecific avoidance - molecules, vomeronasal receptors and neural circuits
Applicant Rodriguez Ivan
Number 170114
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Département de Génétique et Evolution Faculté des Sciences Université de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Genetics
Start/End 01.01.2017 - 31.12.2019
Approved amount 756'000.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Genetics
Neurophysiology and Brain Research

Keywords (4)

olfaction; vomeronasal organ; pheromone perception; olfactory receptors

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Nous allons étudier la capacité qu'ont les rongeurs de détecter leurs pairs malades. Nous allons à la fois identifier les molécules associées aux pathologies et le circuit neuronal responsable de l'identification de ces molécules.
Lay summary

Toute forme de vie est exposée à des agents pathogènes. Mais le risque d'être infecté par un virus ou une bactérie est inégal entre espèces. Il dépend de la niche écologique et du mode de vie de cette espèce. Ainsi, les espèces sociales sont sujettes à un taux élevé de contagion, qui résulte d'interactions proches et répétées entre individus. Des outils permettant à ces espèces sociales d'évaluer la santé de leur voisin ont émergé durant l'évolution. Par exemple, des informations visuelles ou acoustiques spécifiques sont associées aux individus malades. Chez beaucoup d'espèces de mammifères, en particulier chez les rongeurs, l'identification des individus malades passe par le système olfactif.

Nous avons récemment démontré que le système voméronasal (qui fait partie du système olfactif) est responsable de l'identification des animaux malades chez la souris. Cette découverte ouvre une nouvelle direction de recherche, que nous proposons ici de suivre. Nous allons identifier les molécules chimiques reconnues par les souris comme marqueurs de maladie. Nous allons ensuite identifier la nature des récepteurs qui reconnaissent ces composés, et disséquer le circuit neuronal activé lors de la détection de ces molécules.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 25.10.2016

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Neuroinflammation-Associated Aspecific Manipulation of Mouse Predator Fear by Toxoplasma gondii
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.
Restoring wild-type-like CA1 network dynamics and behavior during adulthood in a mouse model of schizophrenia
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.
Evolution of immune chemoreceptors into sensors of the outside world
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.
Context- and Output Layer-Dependent Long-Term Ensemble Plasticity in a Sensory Circuit
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.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. P. Feinstein /Hunter College / the Rockefeller University United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Pedro Herrera/University of Geneva Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Prof. Alan Carleton/University of Geneva Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Firmenich Talk given at a conference from genomes to smelling the world 03.10.2019 Geneva, Switzerland Rodriguez Ivan;
Achems Talk given at a conference Chemoreceptor gene cluster-dependent stabilization of Fpr gene transcription 24.05.2019 Bonita Springs, United States of America Rodriguez Ivan;
neuroscience meeting Talk given at a conference Transcriptional adaptation to neuronal stimulation: on its uses by a neuron and by an experimenter 08.05.2019 Giessbach, Switzerland Rodriguez Ivan;
Institute conference Individual talk the sick sense is in the nose 06.12.2018 Vienna, Austria Rodriguez Ivan;
société de neuroendocrinologie Individual talk the sick sense is in the nose 18.09.2017 Dijon, France Rodriguez Ivan;
gordon conference, neuroethology: behavior, evolution and neurobiology Talk given at a conference the sick sense is in the nose 18.06.2017 les Diablerets, Switzerland Rodriguez Ivan;
GIGA conference Individual talk the sick sense is in the nose 01.06.2017 Liège, Belgium Rodriguez Ivan;
conférence Université Individual talk olfactory receptors: from genes to behavior 01.05.2017 Marseille, France Rodriguez Ivan;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Talks/events/exhibitions Comportements sexuels innés, reproductifs ou non, chez les mammifères Western Switzerland 2019
Talks/events/exhibitions phéromones et comportements:une histoire de récepteurs Western Switzerland 2019
Media relations: radio, television RSR, TSR RSR, TSR Western Switzerland 2019
Media relations: radio, television RSR. TSR Western Switzerland 2018
Media relations: radio, television TSR, RSR Western Switzerland 2017

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
149753 Emergence and regulation of vomeronasal receptor genes in the mouse 01.10.2013 Project funding (Div. I-III)
189153 odorant-induced transcriptional downregulation: from mechanisms to olfactory coding 01.01.2020 Project funding (Div. I-III)
183529 Multiphoton confocal microscope for multimodal tissue imaging and fluorescence lifetime measurements 01.02.2020 R'EQUIP

Abstract

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.
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