Presentation Details
Precise Optical Probing of Perceptual Detection in Olfactory Circuits

Jonathan V.Gill1, 2, Gilad M.Lerman1, Hetince Zhao1, 3, Benjamin J.Stetler1, 3, Shy Shoham1, 3, 4, Dmitry Rinberg1, 2, 5.

1Neuroscience Institute, New York University Langone Health, New York, NY, USA.2Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York, NY, USA.3Tech4Health Institute, New York University Langone Health, New York, NY, USA.4Department of Ophthalmology, New York University Langone Health, New York, NY, USA.5Department of Physics, New York University, New York, NY, USA


Animals are capable of detecting odorants in a single sniff, at extremely low concentrations. This ability is crucial for survival, yet it is unknown how the olfactory system supports detection at the perceptual limit. In the mouse olfactory bulb, inhalation of different odors leads to changes in the set of neurons activated, as well as when neurons are activated relative to each other (synchrony), and the onset of inhalation (latency). A key question is which features of stimulus evoked activity (e.g. rate, synchrony, or latency) are used to guide detection behavior? Here, we probed the sensitivity of mice to perturbations across each stimulus dimension using holographic two-photon (2P) optogenetic stimulation of olfactory bulb neurons, with cellular and single action potential resolution and millisecond precision. We found that mice can detect single action potentials evoked synchronously across <20 olfactory bulb neurons. Mice exhibited this sensitivity for artificial ensembles of mitral cells, as well as mixed ensembles of mitral and granule cells. Further, we discovered that detection depends strongly on the synchrony of activation across neurons, with detectability falling to near-chance levels with an imposed stimulus spread ³ 30 ms, while detection performance was minimally perturbed by changes in the latency of activation relative to inhalation. These results reveal that mice are acutely attuned to single neurons and action potentials in olfactory circuits, and that synchrony across neurons may be a critical feature supporting the perceptibility of sparse ensemble activity signals.

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