staff

Benoit Von der weid

Postdoctoral fellow in Neurogenetics

  • T: +41 22 379 32 81
  • office 4034 (Sciences III)
  • Large-scale transcriptional profiling of chemosensory neurons identifies receptor-ligand pairs in vivo. Nat. Neurosci. 2015 Oct;18(10):1455-63. nn.4100. 10.1038/nn.4100.

    abstract

    In mammals, olfactory perception is based on the combinatorial activation of G protein-coupled receptors. Identifying the full repertoire of receptors activated by a given odorant in vivo, a quest that has been hampered for over 20 years by technical difficulties, would represent an important step in deciphering the rules governing chemoperception. We found that odorants induced a fast and reversible concentration-dependent decrease in the transcription of genes corresponding to activated receptors in intact mice. On the basis of this finding, we developed a large-scale transcriptomic approach to uncover receptor-ligand pairs in vivo. We identified the mouse and rat odorant receptor signatures corresponding to specific odorants. Finally, we found that this approach, which can be used for species for which no genomic sequence is available, is also applicable to non-vertebrate species such as Drosophila.

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  • Physiological characterization of formyl peptide receptor expressing cells in the mouse vomeronasal organ. Front Neuroanat 2014 ;8():134. 10.3389/fnana.2014.00134. PMC4240171.

    abstract

    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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