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Molecular biology of the olfactory system in mammals: study on the detection of odors and their neural representation in the brain


A fundamental property of the nervous system in all animal species is the transformation of sensory stimuli into neural activity, leading to the generation of behavioral and endocrine changes in response to the initial stimulation. Over the last decades, great efforts have been taken to molecularly characterize each of the mammalian sensory systems (visual, auditory, olfactory, somatosensory, etc.). However, little is known of how such systems are integrated in a multimodal fashion to generate the appropriate behaviors and endocrine responses. This topic has enormous medical implications, since numerous human pathologies are the result of dysfunctions in the way the brain integrates sensory information. In this project, the olfactory system will be employed as a model to study the sensory integrative properties of the mammalian nervous system, using a novel biological paradigm where innate behaviors are elicited in mice in the presence of odors from a variety of different species through convergence of two sensory systems. We will study the molecular and cellular logic of odor perception via the identification of neuronal cell types and receptors at the sensory interface. We will also give the first steps towards understanding how the brain interprets sensory information, through the characterization of neural pathways involved in this process and the description of how two sensory systems converge in the brain to generate a specific behavior. In combination, these data will help us understand how the brain translates sensory input into behavioral output, enabling advances in the study and treatment of human diseases characterized by sensory integration dysfunctions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia and several kinds of phobia. (AU)

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Scientific publications (6)
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
IBARRA-SORIA, XIMENA; NAKAHARA, THIAGO S.; LILUE, JINGTAO; JIANG, YUE; TRIMMER, CASEY; SOUZA, MATEUS A. A.; NETTO, PAULO H. M.; IKEGAMI, KENTARO; MURPHY, NICOLLE R.; KUSMA, MAIRI; et al. Variation in olfactory neuron repertoires is genetically controlled and environmentally modulated. eLIFE, v. 6, . (09/00473-0, 15/50371-0)
CARVALHO, VINICIUS M. A.; NAKAHARA, THIAGO S.; CARDOZO, LEONARDO M.; SOUZA, MATEUS A. A.; CAMARGO, ANTONIO P.; TRINTINALIA, GUILHERME Z.; FERRAZ, ELIANA; PAPES, FABIO. Lack of spatial segregation in the representation of pheromones and kairomones in the mouse medial amygdala. FRONTIERS IN NEUROSCIENCE, v. 9, . (09/00473-0)
PAPES, FABIO; LOGAN, DARREN W.; STOWERS, LISA. The Vomeronasal Organ Mediates Interspecies Defensive Behaviors through Detection of Protein Pheromone Homologs. Cell, v. 141, n. 4, p. 692-703, . (09/00473-0)
DE ANDRADE CARVALHO, VINICIUS MIESSLER; NAKAHARA, THIAGO SEIKE; DE ANDRADE SOUZA, MATEUS AUGUSTO; CARDOZO, LEONARDO MINETE; TRINTINALIA, GUILHERME ZIEGLER; PISSINATO, LEONARDO GRANATO; VENANCIO, JOSE OTAVIO; STOWERS, LISA; PAPES, FABIO. Representation of Olfactory Information in Organized Active Neural Ensembles in the Hypothalamus. CELL REPORTS, v. 32, n. 8, . (10/01211-7, 12/04026-1, 13/03372-6, 15/50371-0, 12/01689-0, 14/25594-3, 09/00473-0)
DE ANDRADE CARVALHO, VINICIUS MIESSLER; NAKAHARA, THIAGO SEIKE; PAPES, FABIO. Investigation of Activated Mouse Olfactory Sensory Neurons via Combined Immunostaining and in situ Hybridization. JOVE-JOURNAL OF VISUALIZED EXPERIMENTS, n. 170, . (12/04026-1, 12/21786-0, 12/01689-0, 14/25594-3, 09/00473-0, 15/50371-0)
NAKAHARA, THIAGO S.; CARDOZO, LEONARDO M.; IBARRA-SORIA, XIMENA; BARD, ANDREW D.; CARVALHO, VINICIUS M. A.; TRINTINALIA, GUILHERME Z.; LOGAN, DARREN W.; PAPES, FABIO. Detection of pup odors by non-canonical adult vomeronasal neurons expressing an odorant receptor gene is influenced by sex and parenting status. BMC Biology, v. 14, . (09/00473-0)

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