Oct 25, 2018

The Ca2+-activated Cl− current ensures robust and reliable signal amplification in vertebrate olfactory receptor neurons

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Johannes Reisert, Juergen Reingruber


Activation of most primary sensory neurons results in transduction currents that are carried by cations. One notable exception is the vertebrate olfactory receptor neuron (ORN), where the transduction current is carried largely by the anion Cl−. However, it remains unclear why ORNs use an anionic current for signal amplification. We have sought to provide clarification on this topic by studying the so far neglected dynamics of Na+, Ca2+, K+ and Cl− in the small space of olfactory cilia during an odorant response. Using computational modeling and simulations we compared the outcomes of signal amplification based on either Cl− or Na+ currents. We found that amplification produced by Na+ influx instead of a Cl− efflux is problematic due to several reasons: First, the Na+ current amplitude varies greatly depending on mucosal ion concentration changes. Second, a Na+ current leads to a large increase in the ciliary Na+ concentration during an odorant response. This increase inhibits and even reverses Ca2+ clearance by Na+/Ca2+/K+ exchange, which is essential for response termination. Finally, a Na+ current increases the ciliary osmotic pressure, which could cause swelling to damage the cilia. By contrast, a transduction pathway based...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Biochemical Pathway
Enkephalin, H-Tyr-cyclo-(N(delta)-Orn-Gly-Phe-Leu)-
SLC8A1 protein, human
Calcium ion
Sodium Ion Transport
Signal Transduction Pathways
Smell Perception

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