Specialized neurons in the right habenula mediate response to aversive olfactory cues

  1. Jung-Hwa Choi
  2. Erik R Duboue
  3. Michelle Macurak
  4. Jean-Michel Chanchu
  5. Marnie E Halpern  Is a corresponding author
  1. Dartmouth College, United States
  2. Florida Atlantic University, United States
  3. Carnegie Institution for Science, United States

Abstract

Hemispheric specializations are well studied at the functional level but less is known about the underlying neural mechanisms. We identified a small cluster of cholinergic neurons in the dorsal habenula (dHb) of zebrafish, defined by their expression of the lecithin retinol acyltransferase domain containing 2a (lratd2a) gene and their efferent connections with a subregion of the ventral interpeduncular nucleus (vIPN). The lratd2a-expressing neurons in the right dHb are innervated by a subset of mitral cells from both the left and right olfactory bulb and are activated upon exposure to the odorant cadaverine that is repellent to adult zebrafish. Using an intersectional strategy to drive expression of the botulinum neurotoxin specifically in these neurons, we find that adults no longer show aversion to cadaverine. Mutants with left-isomerized dHb that lack these neurons are also less repelled by cadaverine and their behavioral response to alarm substance, a potent aversive cue, is diminished. However, mutants in which both dHb have right identity appear more reactive to alarm substance. The results implicate an asymmetric dHb-vIPN neural circuit in the processing of repulsive olfactory cues and in modulating the resultant behavioral response.

Data availability

All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting file; Source Data files have been provided for Figures 1-5.Behavioral analyses were performed using custom written scripts in MATLAB and uploaded as Source Code Files.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Jung-Hwa Choi

    Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Department of Molecular and Systems Biology, Dartmouth College, Hanover, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Erik R Duboue

    Harriet Wilkes Honors College, Florida Atlantic University, Jupiter, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-3303-5149
  3. Michelle Macurak

    Department of Embryology, Carnegie Institution for Science, Baltimore, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Jean-Michel Chanchu

    Department of Embryology, Carnegie Institution for Science, Baltimore, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Marnie E Halpern

    Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Department of Molecular and Systems Biology, Dartmouth College, Hanover, United States
    For correspondence
    Marnie.E.Halpern@Dartmouth.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-3634-9058

Funding

National Institutes of Health (R01HD078220)

  • Marnie E Halpern

National Institutes of Health (R37HD091280)

  • Marnie E Halpern

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

Ethics

Animal experimentation: All zebrafish protocols were approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) of the Carnegie Institution for Science [Protocol #122] or Dartmouth College [Protocol #00002253(m3a)].

Reviewing Editor

  1. Claire Wyart, Institut du Cerveau et la Moelle épinière, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ Paris 06, Inserm, CNRS, France

Publication history

  1. Preprint posted: July 20, 2021 (view preprint)
  2. Received: July 20, 2021
  3. Accepted: December 7, 2021
  4. Accepted Manuscript published: December 8, 2021 (version 1)
  5. Version of Record published: December 21, 2021 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2021, Choi 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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  1. Jung-Hwa Choi
  2. Erik R Duboue
  3. Michelle Macurak
  4. Jean-Michel Chanchu
  5. Marnie E Halpern
(2021)
Specialized neurons in the right habenula mediate response to aversive olfactory cues
eLife 10:e72345.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.72345

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