A population of glomerular glutamatergic neurons controls sensory information transfer in the mouse olfactory bulb.
ABSTRACT: In sensory systems, peripheral organs convey sensory inputs to relay networks where information is shaped by local microcircuits before being transmitted to cortical areas. In the olfactory system, odorants evoke specific patterns of sensory neuron activity that are transmitted to output neurons in olfactory bulb (OB) glomeruli. How sensory information is transferred and shaped at this level remains still unclear. Here we employ mouse genetics, 2-photon microscopy, electrophysiology and optogenetics, to identify a novel population of glutamatergic neurons (VGLUT3+) in the glomerular layer of the adult mouse OB as well as several of their synaptic targets. Both peripheral and serotoninergic inputs control VGLUT3+ neurons firing. Furthermore, we show that VGLUT3+ neuron photostimulation in vivo strongly suppresses both spontaneous and odour-evoked firing of bulbar output neurons. In conclusion, we identify and characterize here a microcircuit controlling the transfer of sensory information at an early stage of the olfactory pathway.
Project description:Sensory information is translated into ensemble representations by various populations of projection neurons in brain circuits. The dynamics of ensemble representations formed by distinct channels of output neurons in diverse behavioral contexts remains largely unknown. We studied the two output neuron layers in the olfactory bulb (OB), mitral and tufted cells, using chronic two-photon calcium imaging in awake mice. Both output populations displayed similar odor response profiles. During passive sensory experience, both populations showed reorganization of ensemble odor representations yet stable pattern separation across days. Intriguingly, during active odor discrimination learning, mitral but not tufted cells exhibited improved pattern separation, although both populations showed reorganization of ensemble representations. An olfactory circuitry model suggests that cortical feedback on OB interneurons can trigger both forms of plasticity. In conclusion, we show that different OB output layers display unique context-dependent long-term ensemble plasticity, allowing parallel transfer of non-redundant sensory information to downstream centers. VIDEO ABSTRACT.
Project description:Bursting as well as tonic firing patterns have been described in various sensory systems. In the olfactory system, spontaneous bursts have been observed in neurons distributed across several synaptic levels, from the periphery, to the olfactory bulb (OB) and to the olfactory cortex. Several in vitro studies indicate that spontaneous firing patterns may be viewed as "fingerprints" of different types of neurons that exhibit distinct functions in the OB. It is still not known, however, if and how neuronal burstiness is correlated with the coding of natural olfactory stimuli. We thus conducted an in vivo study to probe this question in the OB equivalent structure of insects, the antennal lobe (AL) of the tobacco hornworm Manduca sexta. We found that in the moth's AL, both projection (output) neurons (PNs) and local interneurons (LNs) are spontaneously active, but PNs tend to produce spike bursts while LNs fire more regularly. In addition, we found that the burstiness of PNs is correlated with the strength of their responses to odor stimulation--the more bursting the stronger their responses to odors. Moreover, the burstiness of PNs was also positively correlated with the spontaneous firing rate of these neurons, and pharmacological reduction of bursting resulted in a decrease of the neurons' responsiveness. These results suggest that neuronal burstiness reflects a physiological state of these neurons that is directly linked to their response characteristics.
Project description:Sensory processing shapes our perception. In mammals, odor information is encoded by combinatorial activity patterns of olfactory bulb (OB) glomeruli. Glomeruli are richly interconnected by short axon cells (SACs), which form the interglomerular circuit (IGC). It is unclear how the IGC impacts OB output to downstream neural circuits. We combined in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology with optogenetics in mice and found the following: (1) the IGC potently and monosynaptically inhibits the OB output neurons mitral/tufted cells (MTCs) by GABA release from SACs: (2) gap junction-mediated electrical coupling is strong for the SAC?MTC synapse, but negligible for the SAC?ETC synapse; (3) brief IGC-mediated inhibition is temporally prolonged by the intrinsic properties of MTCs; and (4) sniff frequency IGC activation in vivo generates persistent MTC inhibition. These findings suggest that the temporal sequence of glomerular activation by sensory input determines which stimulus features are transmitted to downstream olfactory networks and those filtered by lateral inhibition.Odor identity is encoded by combinatorial patterns of activated glomeruli, the initial signal transformation site of the olfactory system. Lateral circuit processing among activated glomeruli modulates olfactory signal transformation before transmission to higher brain centers. Using a combination of in vitro and in vivo optogenetics, this work demonstrates that interglomerular circuitry produces potent inhibition of olfactory bulb output neurons via direct chemical and electrical synapses as well as by indirect pathways. The direct inhibitory synaptic input engages mitral cell intrinsic membrane properties to generate inhibition that outlasts the initial synaptic action.
Project description:The mammalian olfactory bulb (OB) displays robust activity-dependent plasticity throughout life. Dopaminergic (DA) neurons in the glomerular layer (GL) of the OB are particularly plastic, with loss of sensory input rapidly reducing tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) expression and dopamine production, followed by a substantial reduction in DA neuron number. Here, we asked whether microglia participate in activity-dependent elimination of DA neurons in the mouse OB. Interestingly, we found a significant reduction in the number of both DA neurons and their synapses in the OB ipsilateral to the occluded naris (occluded OB) within just 7 days of sensory deprivation. Concomitantly, the volume of the occluded OB decreased, resulting in an increase in microglial density. Microglia in the occluded OB also adopted morphologies consistent with activation. Using in vivo 2-photon imaging and histological analysis we then showed that loss of olfactory input markedly altered microglial-neuronal interactions during the time that DA neurons are being eliminated: both microglial process motility and the frequency of wrapping of DA neuron somata by activated microglia increased significantly in the occluded OB. Furthermore, we found microglia in the occluded OB that had completely engulfed components of DA neurons. Together, our data provide evidence that loss of olfactory input modulates microglial-DA neuron interactions in the OB, thereby suggesting an important role for microglia in the activity-dependent elimination of DA neurons and their synapses.
Project description:Odors elicit distributed activation of glomeruli in the olfactory bulb (OB). Crosstalk between co-active glomeruli has been proposed to perform a variety of computations, facilitating efficient extraction of sensory information by the cortex. Dopaminergic/GABAergic cells in the OB, which can be identified by their expression of the dopamine transporter (DAT), provide the earliest opportunity for such crosstalk. Here we show in mice that DAT+ cells carry concentration-dependent odor signals and broadcast focal glomerular inputs throughout the OB to cause suppression of mitral/tufted (M/T) cell firing, an effect that is mediated by the external tufted (ET) cells coupled to DAT+ cells via chemical and electrical synapses. We find that DAT+ cells implement gain control and decorrelate odor representations in the M/T cell population. Our results further indicate that ET cells are gatekeepers of glomerular output and prime determinants of M/T responsiveness.
Project description:The production of new neurons in the olfactory bulb (OB) through adulthood is a major mechanism of structural and functional plasticity underlying learning-induced circuit remodeling. The recruitment of adult-born OB neurons depends not only on sensory input but also on the context in which the olfactory stimulus is received. Among the multiple steps of adult neurogenesis, the integration and survival of adult-born neurons are both strongly influenced by olfactory learning. Conversely, optogenetic stimulation of adult-born neurons has been shown to specifically improve olfactory learning and long-term memory. However, the nature of the circuit and the synaptic mechanisms underlying this reciprocal influence are not yet known. Here, we showed that olfactory learning increases the spine density in a region-restricted manner along the dendritic tree of adult-born granule cells (GCs). Anatomical and electrophysiological analysis of adult-born GCs showed that olfactory learning promotes a remodeling of both excitatory and inhibitory inputs selectively in the deep dendritic domain. Circuit mapping revealed that the malleable dendritic portion of adult-born neurons receives excitatory inputs mostly from the regions of the olfactory cortex that project back to the OB. Finally, selective optogenetic stimulation of olfactory cortical projections to the OB showed that learning strengthens these inputs onto adult-born GCs. We conclude that learning promotes input-specific synaptic plasticity in adult-born neurons, which reinforces the top-down influence from the olfactory cortex to early stages of olfactory information processing.
Project description:Odors are initially represented in the olfactory bulb (OB) by patterns of sensory input across the array of glomeruli. Although activated glomeruli are often widely distributed, glomeruli responding to stimuli sharing molecular features tend to be loosely clustered and thus establish a fractured chemotopic map. Neuronal circuits in the OB transform glomerular patterns of sensory input into spatiotemporal patterns of output activity and thereby extract information about a stimulus. It is, however, unknown whether the chemotopic spatial organization of glomerular inputs is maintained during these computations. To explore this issue, we measured spatiotemporal patterns of odor-evoked activity across thousands of individual neurons in the zebrafish OB by temporally deconvolved two-photon Ca(2+) imaging. Mitral cells and interneurons were distinguished by transgenic markers and exhibited different response selectivities. Shortly after response onset, activity patterns exhibited foci of activity associated with certain chemical features throughout all layers. During the subsequent few hundred milliseconds, however, MC activity was locally sparsened within the initial foci in an odor-specific manner. As a consequence, chemotopic maps disappeared and activity patterns became more informative about precise odor identity. Hence, chemotopic maps of glomerular input activity are initially transmitted to OB outputs, but not maintained during pattern processing. Nevertheless, transient chemotopic maps may support neuronal computations by establishing important synaptic interactions within the circuit. These results provide insights into the functional topology of neural activity patterns and its potential role in circuit function.
Project description:Synchronized firing of mitral cells (MCs) in the olfactory bulb (OB) has been hypothesized to help bind information together in olfactory cortex (OC). In this survey of synchronized firing by suspected MCs in awake, behaving vertebrates, we find the surprising result that synchronized firing conveys information on odor value ("Is it rewarded?") rather than odor identity ("What is the odor?"). We observed that as mice learned to discriminate between odors, synchronous firing responses to the rewarded and unrewarded odors became divergent. Furthermore, adrenergic blockage decreases the magnitude of odor divergence of synchronous trains, suggesting that MCs contribute to decision-making through adrenergic-modulated synchronized firing. Thus, in the olfactory system information on stimulus reward is found in MCs one synapse away from the sensory neuron.
Project description:Although the developmental principles of sensory and cognitive processing have been extensively investigated, their synergy has been largely neglected. During early life, most sensory systems are still largely immature. As a notable exception, the olfactory system is functional at birth, controlling mother-offspring interactions and neonatal survival. Here, we elucidate the structural and functional principles underlying the communication between olfactory bulb (OB) and lateral entorhinal cortex (LEC)-the gatekeeper of limbic circuitry-during neonatal development. Combining optogenetics, pharmacology, and electrophysiology in vivo with axonal tracing, we show that mitral cell-dependent discontinuous theta bursts in OB drive network oscillations and time the firing in LEC of anesthetized mice via axonal projections confined to upper cortical layers. Acute pharmacological silencing of OB activity diminishes entorhinal oscillations, whereas odor exposure boosts OB-entorhinal coupling at fast frequencies. Chronic impairment of olfactory sensory neurons disrupts OB-entorhinal activity. Thus, OB activity shapes the maturation of entorhinal circuits.
Project description:Inhibition has a central role in defining the selectivity of the responses of higher order neurons to sensory stimuli. However, the circuit mechanisms of regulation of these responses by inhibitory neurons are still unclear. In Drosophila, the mushroom bodies (MBs) are necessary for olfactory memory, and by implication for the selectivity of learned responses to specific odors. To understand the circuitry of inhibition in the calyx (the input dendritic region) of the MBs, and its relationship with MB excitatory activity, we used the simple anatomy of the Drosophila larval olfactory system to identify any inhibitory inputs that could contribute to the selectivity of MB odor responses. We found that a single neuron accounts for all detectable GABA innervation in the calyx of the MBs, and that this neuron has pre-synaptic terminals in the calyx and post-synaptic branches in the MB lobes (output axonal area). We call this neuron the larval anterior paired lateral (APL) neuron, because of its similarity to the previously described adult APL neuron. Reconstitution of GFP partners (GRASP) suggests that the larval APL makes extensive contacts with the MB intrinsic neurons, Kenyon Cells (KCs), but few contacts with incoming projection neurons (PNs). Using calcium imaging of neuronal activity in live larvae, we show that the larval APL responds to odors, in a manner that requires output from KCs. Our data suggest that the larval APL is the sole GABAergic neuron that innervates the MB input region and carries inhibitory feedback from the MB output region, consistent with a role in modulating the olfactory selectivity of MB neurons.