Odorant response properties of convergent olfactory receptor neurons

Thomas C. Bozza, John S. Kauer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Information about odorant stimuli is thought to be represented in spatial and temporal patterns of activity across neurons in the olfactory epithelium and the olfactory bulb (OB). Previous studies suggest that olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) distributed in the nasal cavity project to localized regions in the glomerular layer of the OB. However, the functional significance of this convergence is not yet known, and in no studies have the odorant response properties of individual ORNs projecting to defined OB regions been measured directly. We have retrogradely labeled mouse ORNs connecting to different glomeruli in the dorsal OB and tested single cells for responses to odorants using fura-2 calcium imaging. ORNs that project to clusters of dorsomedial (DM) glomeruli exhibit different odorant response profiles from those that project to dorsolateral (DL) glomeruli. DL- projecting ORNs showed responses to compounds with widely different structures, including carvone, eugenol, cinnamaldehyde, and acetophenone. In contrast, DM projecting neurons exhibited responses to a more structurally restricted set of compounds and responded preferentially to organic acids. These data demonstrate that ORN afferents segregate by odorant responsiveness and that the homogeneity of ORN and glomerular input varies with different OB regions. The data also demonstrate that a subpopulation of ORNs projecting to DM glomeruli is functionally similar.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4560-4569
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 1998


  • Calcium
  • Glomeruli
  • Imaging
  • Mouse
  • Olfactory bulb
  • Olfactory coding
  • Olfactory receptor neurons
  • Retrograde tracing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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