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Kidd, S., Struhl, G., Lieber, T. (2015). Notch is required in adult Drosophila sensory neurons for morphological and functional plasticity of the olfactory circuit.  PLoS Genet. 11(5): e1005244.
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Research paper

Olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) convey odor information to the central brain, but like other sensory neurons were thought to play a passive role in memory formation and storage. Here we show that Notch, part of an evolutionarily conserved intercellular signaling pathway, is required in adult Drosophila ORNs for the structural and functional plasticity of olfactory glomeruli that is induced by chronic odor exposure. Specifically, we show that Notch activity in ORNs is necessary for the odor specific increase in the volume of glomeruli that occurs as a consequence of prolonged odor exposure. Calcium imaging experiments indicate that Notch in ORNs is also required for the chronic odor induced changes in the physiology of ORNs and the ensuing changes in the physiological response of their second order projection neurons (PNs). We further show that Notch in ORNs acts by both canonical cleavage-dependent and non-canonical cleavage-independent pathways. The Notch ligand Delta (Dl) in PNs switches the balance between the pathways. These data define a circuit whereby, in conjunction with odor, N activity in the periphery regulates the activity of neurons in the central brain and Dl in the central brain regulates N activity in the periphery. Our work highlights the importance of experience dependent plasticity at the first olfactory synapse.

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PubMed Central ID
PMC4444342 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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    Publication Type
    PLoS Genet.
    PLoS Genetics
    Publication Year
    1553-7404 1553-7390
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    Genes (7)