Genetic dissection of odor perception in the mouse


March 7, 2017 - 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Northwest 243
About the Speaker
Thomas Bozza
Speaker Affiliation: 

Genetic dissection of odor
perception in the mouse

Progress towards
understanding the molecular basis for odor recognition has been hindered by an
inability to identify olfactory receptors that contribute significantly to the
perception of specific olfactory stimuli.  In the mammalian main olfactory
pathway, volatile chemicals are detected by a large repertoire of G
protein-coupled receptors.  In mice, these include over 1,000 canonical
odorant receptors (ORs) and a much smaller family of 14 Trace Amine-Associated
Receptors (TAARs).  My laboratory is using genetics, electrophysiology,
optical imaging, optogenetics and behavior to characterize the function of
TAARs in vivo, and to quantify how these receptors contribute to odor
detection and perception.  I will present evidence that TAARs set the
detection thresholds of mice to specific volatile amines and contribute
significantly to amine valence.  Our work sheds light on why the TAARs are
conserved across vertebrates throughout evolution, and permits us to measure,
for the first time, how ligand recognition at the receptor level impacts
olfactory perception at the behavioral level.