Neural mapping of direction and frequency in the cricket cercal sensory system.
Primary mechanosensory receptors and interneurons in the cricket cercal sensory system are sensitive to the direction and frequency of air current stimuli. Receptors innervating long mechanoreceptor hairs (>1000 microm) are most sensitive to low-frequency air currents (<150 Hz); receptors innervating medium-length hairs (900-500 microm) are most sensitive to higher frequency ranges (150-400 Hz). Previous studies demonstrated that the projection pattern of the synaptic arborizations of long hair receptor afferents form a continuous map of air current direction within the terminal abdominal ganglion (). We demonstrate here that the projection pattern of the medium-length hair afferents also forms a continuous map of stimulus direction. However, the afferents from the long and medium-length hair afferents show very little spatial segregation with respect to their frequency sensitivity. The possible functional significance of this small degree of spatial segregation was investigated, by calculating the relative overlap between the long and medium-length hair afferents with the dendrites of two interneurons that are known to have different frequency sensitivities. Both interneurons were shown to have nearly equal anatomical overlap with long and medium hair afferents. Thus, the differential overlap of these interneurons with the two different classes of afferents was not adequate to explain the observed frequency selectivity of the interneurons. Other mechanisms such as selective connectivity between subsets of afferents and interneurons and/or differences in interneuron biophysical properties must play a role in establishing the frequency selectivities of these interneurons. (+info)
Morphology of intraepithelial corpuscular nerve endings in the nasal respiratory mucosa of the dog.
Corpuscular nerve endings in the nasal respiratory mucosa of the dog were investigated by immunohistochemical staining specific for protein gene product 9.5 by light and electron microscopy. In the nasal respiratory mucosa, complex corpuscular endings, which displayed bulbous, laminar and varicose expansions, were distributed on the dorsal elevated part of the nasal septum and on the dorsal nasal concha. The endings were 300-500 microm long and 100-250 microm wide. Some axons gave rise to a single ending while others branched into 2 endings. Cryostat sections revealed that the corpuscular endings were located within the nasal respiratory epithelium. On electron microscopy, immunoreactive nerve terminals that contained organelles, including mitochondria and neurofilaments, were observed within the epithelial layer near the lumen of the nasal cavity. Some terminals contacted the goblet cell. Such terminal regions were covered by the cytoplasmic process of ciliated cells and were never exposed to the lumen of the nasal cavity. These nerve endings are probably activated by pressure changes. (+info)
Putative mammalian taste receptors: a class of taste-specific GPCRs with distinct topographic selectivity.
Taste represents a major form of sensory input in the animal kingdom. In mammals, taste perception begins with the recognition of tastant molecules by unknown membrane receptors localized on the apical surface of receptor cells of the tongue and palate epithelium. We report the cloning and characterization of two novel seven-transmembrane domain proteins expressed in topographically distinct subpopulations of taste receptor cells and taste buds. These proteins are specifically localized to the taste pore and are members of a new group of G protein-coupled receptors distantly related to putative mammalian pheromone receptors. We propose that these genes encode taste receptors. (+info)
A novel family of divergent seven-transmembrane proteins: candidate odorant receptors in Drosophila.
Although insects have proven to be valuable models for exploring the function, organization, and development of the olfactory system, the receptor molecules that bind odors have not been identified in any insect. We have developed a novel search algorithm, used it to search the Drosophila genomic sequence database, and identified a large multigene family encoding seven transmembrane domain proteins that are expressed in olfactory organs. We show that expression is restricted to subsets of olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) for a number of these genes. Different members of the family initiate expression at different times during antennal development. Some of the genes are not expressed in a mutant of the Acj6 POU-domain transcription factor, a mutant in which a subset of ORNs show abnormal odorant specificities. (+info)
The odor specificities of a subset of olfactory receptor neurons are governed by Acj6, a POU-domain transcription factor.
Little is known about how the odor specificities of olfactory neurons are generated, a process essential to olfactory coding. We have found that neuronal identity relies on the abnormal chemosensory jump 6 (acj6) gene, originally identified by a defect in olfactory behavior. Physiological analysis of individual olfactory neurons shows that in acj6 mutants, a subset of neurons acquires a different odorant response profile. Certain other neurons do not respond to any tested odors in acj6. Molecular analysis of acj6 shows that it encodes a POU-domain transcription factor expressed in olfactory neurons. Our data suggest that the odor response spectrum of an olfactory neuron, and perhaps the choice of receptor genes, is determined through a process requiring the action of Acj6. (+info)
The thermal sensitivity of the polymodal nociceptors in the monkey.
1. The static and dynamic sensitivities to thermal and mechanical stimuli of polymodal nociceptors in hairy skin of the anaesthetized monkey have been investigated by recording activity in their primary nerve fibres. 2. Polymodal nociceptors responded to skin pricking, pinching and heating to temperatures higher than 40 degrees C. They did not respond to touch, stretch or cold. The conduction velocity of their axons was from 0.6 to 1.1 m/sec. 3. Three types of cutaneous receptive fields have been observed: single spot-like areas of 1-2 mm2; multiple spot-like areas of 1-2 mm2; and larger areas up to 25 mm2 with heterogeneous sensitivity. 4. Polymodal nociceptors were subjected to heat stimuli that commenced from a 33 or 37 degrees C adapting temperature. A series consisted of heating their receptive fields to 43, 45, 47 and 50 degrees C from one or the other adapting temperatures at a constant rate of 0.2 degrees C/sec. Each heat stimulus intensity was maintained for 4 min after which the skin was returned to the adapting temperature. Immediately after the first series the identical series was repeated in order to determine the effect of prior heating upon the dynamic responses to re-heating. The dynamic responses were characterized by three phases: an initiation of a discharge at a threshold level of skin temperature; a dynamic discharge during the suprathreshold change, that reached a peak frequency when the temperature reached its maximum; and an adaptation phase while the temperature remained at the high intensity. Adaptation was rapid initially, and then slowed during the final minutes at the high intensity. 5. Adapting the receptive field to either 33 degrees C or to 37 degrees C before the heat stimuli did not affect the sensitivity and the discharge pattern of the polymodal nocicpetors. 6. During the first series of stimulations, the threshold at which the individual polymodal nociceptors began to discharge to heat stimuli varied from 40 to 46.5 degrees C. The mean threshold of the population was 42.5 degrees C. 7. No change in the threshold was observed when responses to 0.2 and 1.5 degrees C/sec rates of heating were compared... (+info)
Electric organ discharges and electric images during electrolocation.
Weakly electric fish use active electrolocation - the generation and detection of electric currents - to explore their surroundings. Although electrosensory systems include some of the most extensively understood circuits in the vertebrate central nervous system, relatively little is known quantitatively about how fish electrolocate objects. We believe a prerequisite to understanding electrolocation and its underlying neural substrates is to quantify and visualize the peripheral electrosensory information measured by the electroreceptors. We have therefore focused on reconstructing both the electric organ discharges (EODs) and the electric images resulting from nearby objects and the fish's exploratory behaviors. Here, we review results from a combination of techniques, including field measurements, numerical and semi-analytical simulations, and video imaging of behaviors. EOD maps are presented and interpreted for six gymnotiform species. They reveal diverse electric field patterns that have significant implications for both the electrosensory and electromotor systems. Our simulations generated predictions of the electric images from nearby objects as well as sequences of electric images during exploratory behaviors. These methods are leading to the identification of image features and computational algorithms that could reliably encode electrosensory information and may help guide electrophysiological experiments exploring the neural basis of electrolocation. (+info)
Mechanisms for generating temporal filters in the electrosensory system.
Temporal patterns of sensory information are important cues in behaviors ranging from spatial analyses to communication. Neural representations of the temporal structure of sensory signals include fluctuations in the discharge rate of neurons over time (peripheral nervous system) and the differential level of activity in neurons tuned to particular temporal features (temporal filters in the central nervous system). This paper presents our current understanding of the mechanisms responsible for the transformations between these representations in electric fish of the genus Eigenmannia. The roles of passive and active membrane properties of neurons, and frequency-dependent gain-control mechanisms are discussed. (+info)