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Suárez, Rodrigo; Villalón, Aldo; Künzle, Heinz; Mpodozis, Jorge (2009): Transposition and Intermingling of Galphai2 and Galphao afferences into single vomeronasal glomeruli in the Madagascan lesser Tenrec Echinops telfairi.
In: PloS one 4(11), e8005




The vomeronasal system (VNS) mediates pheromonal communication in mammals. From the vomeronasal organ, two populations of sensory neurons, expressing either Galphai2 or Galphao proteins, send projections that end in glomeruli distributed either at the rostral or caudal half of the accessory olfactory bulb (AOB), respectively. Neurons at the AOB contact glomeruli of a single subpopulation. The dichotomic segregation of AOB glomeruli has been described in opossums, rodents and rabbits, while Primates and Laurasiatheres present the Galphai2-pathway only, or none at all (such as apes, some bats and aquatic species). We studied the AOB of the Madagascan lesser tenrec Echinops telfairi (Afrotheria: Afrosoricida) and found that Galphai2 and Galphao proteins are expressed in rostral and caudal glomeruli, respectively. However, the segregation of vomeronasal glomeruli at the AOB is not exclusive, as both pathways contained some glomeruli transposed into the adjoining subdomain. Moreover, some glomeruli seem to contain intermingled afferences from both pathways. Both the transposition and heterogeneity of vomeronasal afferences are features, to our knowledge, never reported before. The organization of AOB glomeruli suggests that synaptic integration might occur at the glomerular layer. Whether intrinsic AOB neurons may make synaptic contact with axon terminals of both subpopulations is an interesting possibility that would expand our understanding about the integration of vomeronasal pathways.