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Spring Symposium on UR and Community Engagement has ended
Tuesday, April 24 • 9:40am - 10:00am
Developing a Model System to Establish Electrophysiological Protocols Necessary for the Deorphanization of Vomeronasal Sensory Receptors (VNSRs)

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Chemical signaling mediates many complex behavioral interactions such as mating and the establishment of hierarchy for a variety of animal species. A key form of chemical signaling in rodents is facilitated by the production and detection of intraspecific pheromones known as major urinary proteins (MUPs). Pheromones such as MUPs convey specific information which is innately recognized by members of a species. In rodents, MUPs are detected by receptors on specialized sensory neurons in the vomeronasal organ (VNO) known as vomeronasal sensory receptors (VNSRs). Once a MUP binds to a VNSR, the sensory neuron initiates neural circuits extending to other sections of the brain such as the amygdala and surrounding limbic structures leading to a behavioral response. Sensory neurons expressing different VNSRs will activate different neural circuits, thus allowing different MUPs to evoke specific behaviors. The exact behavioral response to a certain MUP is predictable for all members of the species and indicates common neural circuitry associated with MUP communication. This uniformity of neural circuitry in mice allows for MUP communication to serve as a reliable model system for studying how chemical stimuli code for behavioral outputs. This study aims to determine which MUPs activate a given VNSR in order to elucidate the neural circuits responsible for specific behavioral reactions. To achieve this understanding, patch clamp analysis will be used to deorphanize VNSRs by monitoring electrophysiological changes in cells expressing VNSRs upon exposure to specific MUPs. If the MUP being introduced is able to bind the specific VNSRs expressed by the cells, a measurable change in the cells voltage will occur. Currently, a model system using CHO cells transfected to express kir2.2 channels is being established to yield preliminary methodologies that will be used to complete this study.

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Tuesday April 24, 2018 9:40am - 10:00am
014 Zeis Hall

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