The encoding of olfactory memory traces in the mouse piriform cortex

Abstract : Olfaction is an evolutionarily old sensory modality that plays key roles in the survival of many species and is densely interwoven with memory and emotions. However, how odor memories are formed and stored in the brain remains largely unknown. To address these questions, we studied the olfactory (piriform) cortex of mice, which is a good candidate for encoding olfactory memory traces. We used c-fos as a marker of neural activity and the cfos-tTA transgenic mouse line (and the fosCreERT2 mouse line to a lesser extent) to selectively express chemogenetic receptors (DREADDs) in piriform neurons that are active during an olfactory fear conditioning task. We found that chemogenetically reactivating these ensembles artificially retrieves the memory while chemogenetically silencing them impairs memory retrieval. Piriform neurons active during olfactory learning thus play a key role in memory retrieval. These results open new horizons in understanding memory trace formation. We decided to explore in a preliminary way how learning shapes piriform network properties. In parallel, using a theoretical framework, we investigated if a model based on dendritic voltage could predict synaptic plasticity. Taken together, these experiments will provide important insights into the mechanisms of odor coding and memory.
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https://tel.archives-ouvertes.fr/tel-02293791
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Claire Meissner-Bernard. The encoding of olfactory memory traces in the mouse piriform cortex. Neurons and Cognition [q-bio.NC]. Université Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris VI, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017PA066450⟩. ⟨tel-02293791v1⟩

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