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The olfactory system’s ability to detect and discriminate between the vast array of chemicals present in the environment is critical for an animal to be able to forage food, find mates, and avoid predation. In mice, these chemicals are detected by odorant receptor (OR) proteins that are expressed by olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs). Each OSN expresses only one OR, and all OSNs that express the same OR project their axons to a stereotyped position within the olfactory bulb to form a glomerulus. This organization results in a given odorant triggering a unique but spatially invariant pattern of glomerular activation, and it is believed that this organization may be critical for assisting the brain in decoding odor identity. However, a major impediment to understanding the computation that transforms patterns of glomerular activity to the decoding of odor identity is that the positions of only a handful of glomeruli are known

In this GEN webinar, our distinguished presenter, Dr. Paul Greer, will describe how his laboratory uses spatial transcriptomics and machine learning to reconstruct a map of the majority of glomerular positions within the mouse olfactory bulb. Using single-cell RNA sequencing, Dr. Greer and his colleagues found that each type of OSN expresses a unique transcriptional program—beyond simply the OR that it has chosen—that distinguishes it from all other OSNs. These results provide a new, mostly complete map of glomerular positioning within the mouse olfactory bulb and suggest a mechanism by which chemotopic organization is achieved within the mouse olfactory system.

A live Q&A session followed the presentation, offering a chance to pose questions to our expert panelist.


Webinar produced with support from:

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Paul Greer
Paul Greer, PhD
Assistant Professor
UMass Medical School