Respiration-locking of olfactory receptor and projection neurons in the mouse olfactory bulb and its modulation by brain stateMore about Open Access at the Crick
Authors listTobias Ackels Rebecca Jordan Andreas Schaefer Izumi Fukunaga
For sensory systems of the brain, the dynamics of an animal's own sampling behavior has a direct consequence on ensuing computations. This is particularly the case for mammalian olfaction, where a rhythmic flow of air over the nasal epithelium entrains activity in olfactory system neurons in a phenomenon known as sniff-locking. Parameters of sniffing can, however, change drastically with brain states. Coupled to the fact that different observation methods have different kinetics, consensus on the sniff-locking properties of neurons is lacking. To address this, we investigated the sniff-related activity of olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs), as well as the principal neurons of the olfactory bulb (OB), using 2-photon calcium imaging and intracellular whole-cell patch-clamp recordings in vivo, both in anesthetized and awake mice. Our results indicate that OSNs and OB output neurons lock robustly to the sniff rhythm, but with a slight temporal shift between behavioral states. We also observed a slight delay between methods. Further, the divergent sniff-locking by tufted cells (TCs) and mitral cells (MCs) in the absence of odor can be used to determine the cell type reliably using a simple linear classifier. Using this classification on datasets where morphological identification is unavailable, we find that MCs use a wider range of temporal shifts to encode odors than previously thought, while TCs have a constrained timing of activation due to an early-onset hyperpolarization. We conclude that the sniff rhythm serves as a fundamental rhythm but its impact on odor encoding depends on cell type, and this difference is accentuated in awake mice.