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Semiochemical responsive olfactory sensory neurons are sexually dimorphic and plastic

  1. Aashutosh Vihani  Is a corresponding author
  2. Xiaoyang Serene Hu
  3. Sivaji Gundala
  4. Sachiko Koyama
  5. Eric Block
  6. Hiroaki Matsunami  Is a corresponding author
  1. Duke University, United States
  2. University at Albany, State University of New York, United States
  3. Indiana University Bloomington, United States
Research Article
  • Cited 4
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Cite this article as: eLife 2020;9:e54501 doi: 10.7554/eLife.54501

Abstract

Understanding how genes and experiences work in concert to generate phenotypic variability will provide a better understanding of individuality. Here, we considered this in the main olfactory epithelium, a chemosensory structure with over a thousand distinct cell types in mice. We identified a subpopulation of olfactory sensory neurons, defined by receptor expression, whose abundances were sexually dimorphic. This subpopulation of olfactory sensory neurons was over-represented in sex-separated mice and robustly responsive to sex-specific semiochemicals. Sex-combined housing led to an attenuation of the dimorphic representations. Single-cell sequencing analysis revealed an axis of activity-dependent gene expression amongst a subset of the dimorphic OSN populations. Finally, the pro-apoptotic gene Bax is necessary to generate the dimorphic representations. Altogether, our results suggest a role of experience and activity in influencing homeostatic mechanisms to generate a robust sexually dimorphic phenotype in the main olfactory epithelium.

Data availability

Sequencing data have been deposited in GEO under accession codes GSE160272.

The following data sets were generated
The following previously published data sets were used

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Aashutosh Vihani

    Department of Neurobiology, Duke University, Durham, United States
    For correspondence
    aashutosh.vihani@duke.edu
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-5979-101X
  2. Xiaoyang Serene Hu

    Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke University, Durham, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  3. Sivaji Gundala

    Department of Chemistry, University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  4. Sachiko Koyama

    Biology, Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  5. Eric Block

    Department of Chemistry, University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  6. Hiroaki Matsunami

    Department of Neurobiology, Duke University, Durham, United States
    For correspondence
    hiroaki.matsunami@duke.edu
    Competing interests
    Hiroaki Matsunami, HM receives royalties from Chemcom..

Funding

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (DC014423)

  • Eric Block
  • Hiroaki Matsunami

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (DC016224)

  • Hiroaki Matsunami

National Science Foundation (1556207)

  • Hiroaki Matsunami

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Ethics

Animal experimentation: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. All of the animals were handled according to approved institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) protocol A128-19-06 at Duke University.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Tali Kimchi, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Publication history

  1. Received: December 16, 2019
  2. Accepted: November 22, 2020
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: November 24, 2020 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: December 11, 2020 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2020, Vihani et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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