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Nat Commun. 2014 May 7;5:3791. doi: 10.1038/ncomms4791.

A population of glomerular glutamatergic neurons controls sensory information transfer in the mouse olfactory bulb.

Author information

Department of Basic Neurosciences, School of Medicine, University of Geneva, 1 rue Michel-Servet, 1211, Geneva, Switzerland.
Geneva Neuroscience Center, University of Geneva, Switzerland.
Departments of Neurobiology and Otolaryngology, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, 3501 Fifth Ave BST3 6058, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15260.
Department of Physiology and Neurology, School of Medicine, University of California, 600 16th Street, San Francisco, California 94143.
Department of Genetics and Evolution, University of Geneva, 30 quai Ernest-Ansermet, Geneva, Switzerland.
Contributed equally


In sensory systems, peripheral organs convey sensory inputs to relay networks where information is shaped by local microcircuits before being transmitted to cortical areas. In the olfactory system, odorants evoke specific patterns of sensory neuron activity that are transmitted to output neurons in olfactory bulb (OB) glomeruli. How sensory information is transferred and shaped at this level remains still unclear. Here we employ mouse genetics, 2-photon microscopy, electrophysiology and optogenetics, to identify a novel population of glutamatergic neurons (VGLUT3+) in the glomerular layer of the adult mouse OB as well as several of their synaptic targets. Both peripheral and serotoninergic inputs control VGLUT3+ neurons firing. Furthermore, we show that VGLUT3+ neuron photostimulation in vivo strongly suppresses both spontaneous and odour-evoked firing of bulbar output neurons. In conclusion, we identify and characterize here a microcircuit controlling the transfer of sensory information at an early stage of the olfactory pathway.

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