Highlight: Chloride increases response to pheromones and odors in mouse sensory neurons

Dec 28, 2009

The vomeronasal organ (VNO) is an odor detection system that mediates many pheromone-sensitive behaviors. Vomeronasal sensory neurons (VSNs), located in the VNO, are the initial site of interaction with odors and pheromones. How an individual VSN transduces chemical signals into electrical signals, however, has been a mystery.

In the January 2010 issue of the Journal of General Physiology, researchers from the University of Vermont show that a Ca2+ -activated chloride current contributes approximately 80% of the response to urine in mouse VSNs.

Using patch clamp recordings and whole cell recordings, the team found that that urine-induced inward current was decreased in the presence of chloride channel blockers. Furthermore, the urine-induced currents were eliminated when both extracellular Ca2+ and Na+ were removed.

The team's overall findings show that chloride acts as a major amplifier for in mouse VSNs, increasing the responsiveness to pheromones or odorants.

Explore further: Strong genetic risk factor for MS discovered in family of five affected siblings

More information: Yang, C., and R.J. Delay. 2009. J. Gen. Physiol. doi:10.1085/jgp.200910265.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sniffing Out the Physical Condition of Conspecifics

May 07, 2009

To date, it has been unknown exactly how mammals are capable of sniffing out whether a conspecific is ill. The biologists Prof. Marc Spehr and Daniela Flügge are following a good lead. They have discovered ...

Piddling fish face off threat of competition

Dec 12, 2007

Research published today in the online open access journal, BMC Biology, shows that male tilapia fish use pheromones in their urine to fight off competitors and enforce social dominance.

Investigating the development of mechanosensitivity

May 22, 2009

Researchers of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch, Germany, have gained crucial insight into how mechanosensitivity arises. By measuring electrical impulses in the sensory neurons of mice, the ...

Recommended for you

Drug to control appetite could also fight anxiety

16 hours ago

Did you know that our body produces its own marijuana-like compound to protect us against anxiety? A study led by Ottawa researchers, published today in Neuron, reveals a new biological pathway that regulates this system ...

From chick to bedside: Removing the Wnt barrier

16 hours ago

Kick starting a process that might repair the damage done in cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis could begin with disabling a driver that helps block regeneration, said Baylor College of Medicine researchers ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.