PerspectiveNeuroscience

Cell types exposed by social scent

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Science  13 Dec 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6471, pp. 1311-1312
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz8969

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Summary

Social interactions are an integral part of our lives, but sometimes they are as difficult to read as the activity in our brains. Animals use pheromones as a means of social communication to convey information about gender, age, individuality, and physiological state to other members of their species (conspecifics) (1). How such multifaceted information is detected and transformed into meaningful signals is an open question. On page 1384 of this issue, Lee et al. (2) present an optical approach called physiological optical tagging sequencing (PhOTseq) to disentangle sensory neuron cell types, which are specialized detectors and gateways to the brain. The authors combined functional and molecular profiling of cellular properties to expose a molecular logic of pheromone sensation.

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