Odors are key components for sensory communication involved in behaviors such as social communication or food search. Recently, molecular receptors, neuronal architecture, physiological regulation, and behavioral consequences underlying these biological processes are starting to be revealed in an increasing number of animal models. But more and more breakthroughs are highlighting some unexpected results asking for deeper studies. The Drosophila melanogaster has proven to be a particular powerful tool to understand, to test, and to manipulate the complex neurogenetical interactions between molecular and cellular partners controlling such behaviors. We have shown that a subset of glia is mastering the activity of a population of neurons involved in chemoperception in Drosophila (e.g. glutamatergic neurons). We have also recently uncovered a striking molecular and neuronal architecture regulating courtship using food odors instead of classical pheromones in fruit flies. Our emerging team at the CSGA-UMR 6265 CNRS will expand these pioneer works to understand how glia and neurons are interacting to impact fly chemosensory choice. For this aim, we will develop powerful genetic tools in Drosophila to reveal and to manipulate the communication between glial cells and neurons in peripheral sensory organs and in projection centers in the brain. We will also look for conserved mechanisms in other insect species (mosquito). The expected data are susceptible to touch a large scientific public since olfaction plays a key sensory modality in most animal species. The collected data on glial function in neuronal activity control will have also a strong impact on finding new strategies to understand neuronal disorders in humans.
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