How do we smell? The main aim of this proposal is to contribute to the understanding of how odor information from the environment is perceived. Recent experiments have focused on spatial aspects of olfactory coding in the olfactory bulb and have shown that all the olfactory sensory neurons expressing one odorant receptor gene, from a family of 1000, converge into a few glomeruli. However, temporal aspects of response to odorants may play a very important role in olfactory coding in mammals. Therefore, we propose to measure the temporal patterns of mitral cell responses to odorants. A major innovative aspect of this proposal is the use of a multidisciplinary approach, in wich electrophysiological measurements of mitral cell activity will be made in gene-targeted mice, in which all lofactory sensory neurons that express a chosen odorant receptor gene also produce the green fluorescent protein. The use of these gene-targeted mice will allow to visually identify the glomeruli by using green fluorescent protein. The use of these gene-targeted mice will allow to visually identify the glomeruli. Recordings will be made by using odorants known to activate the chosen receptor. Various odorant concentrations and exposure times will be used. The results will provide new information on temporal aspects of olfactory coding. Dr. Giulietta Pinato, recipient of a EU Marie Curie Individual Fellowship, has acquired expertise in electrophysiological recordings from granule and mitral cells in the olfactory bulb in the laboratory of Prof. Midtgaard, Denmark, and would like to return to her home country, Italy, and carry on the proposed project in the laboratory of Prof. Anna Menini, an intenational leader in the field of olfaction. A European Reintegration Grant will be of great help for the development of Dr. Pinato research career, by placing her recently developed expertisse within the framework of a coherent of a coherent research project on the olfactory system.
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