Physiological characterization of formyl peptide receptor expressing cells in the mouse vomeronasal organ.

  • publication
  • 09-12-2014

Ackels T, von der Weid B, Rodriguez I, Spehr M. Front Neuroanat 2014 ;8():134. 10.3389/fnana.2014.00134. PMC4240171.

The mouse vomeronasal organ (VNO) is a chemosensory structure that detects both hetero- and conspecific social cues. Based on largely monogenic expression of either type 1 or 2 vomeronasal receptors (V1Rs/V2Rs) or members of the formyl peptide receptor (FPR) family, the vomeronasal sensory epithelium harbors at least three neuronal subpopulations. While various neurophysiological properties of both V1R- and V2R-expressing neurons have been described using genetically engineered mouse models, the basic biophysical characteristics of the more recently identified FPR-expressing vomeronasal neurons have not been studied. Here, we employ a transgenic mouse strain that coexpresses an enhanced variant of yellow fluorescent protein together with FPR-rs3 allowing to identify and analyze FPR-rs3-expressing neurons in acute VNO tissue slices. Single neuron electrophysiological recordings allow comparative characterization of the biophysical properties inherent to a prototypical member of the FPR-expressing subpopulation of VNO neurons. In this study, we provide an in-depth analysis of both passive and active membrane properties, including detailed characterization of several types of voltage-activated conductances and action potential discharge patterns, in fluorescently labeled vs. unmarked vomeronasal neurons. Our results reveal striking similarities in the basic (electro) physiological architecture of both transgene-expressing and non-expressing neurons, confirming the suitability of this genetically engineered mouse model for future studies addressing more specialized issues in vomeronasal FPR neurobiology.

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