Dept. of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
Multielectrode recording in the mouse olfactory system
Most terrestrial vertebrates detect olfactory stimuli using two distinct primary sensory organs: the main olfactory epithelium (MOE) and the vomeronasal organ (VNO). These two epithelia contain primary sensory neurons expressing one or a few members of a large family of odorant receptor molecules. In response to an odor, a subset of these sensory neurons modulate their firing rate, so that odorant identity is presumably encoded by the population activity of many types of sensory neurons. We are studying this code by recording the activity of large numbers of cells in the olfactory epithelia, using array of 61 extracellular electrodes. We are characterizing the response of these cells to natural stimuli.