HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Scientists find just how discriminating a worm can be: Unique system of overlapping odor sensors discovered

With only 32 of its 302 nerves dedicated to detecting the odors that drift through its world, the lowly roundworm seems hard pressed to smell food, let alone discriminate friend from foe. But researchers have discovered a unique system of overlapping sensors that enables the creature to tell smells apart.

The system seems well designed for the nerve-challenged worm. In mice and humans, each of millions of odor sensing nerves has only one type of odor detecting receptor, allowing the brain to distinguish between odors by tracking which nerve did the sensing. But in a compromise between the need to detect many odors and the scarcity of available nerves, the roundworm's odor sensing neurons are studded with receptors for different odors. It has been a biological puzzle how a nerve that senses many odors can distinguish between them.

Scientists at the University of California, San Francisco uncovered a clever combination strategy in the worm's odor sensing nerves. Paired nerves, they found, have receptors tuned to some of the same odors, yet each member of the pair also supports receptors tuned to unique odors not detected by the partner.

With this partially overlapping detection system, the nerve pairs can sense more odors than would be possible if they had identical receptors or even if each were tuned to completely different smells, the scientists found. More importantly, the combinatorial approach allows the nerve pairs to discriminate between different odors, a lifesaving trait if the worm has to find one source of food in a bewildering array of aromas.

"The worm can solve amazingly complex sensory problems with few olfactory nerves," said senior investigator of the study, Cornelia I. Bargmann, PhD, an investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and professor and vice chair of anatomy at UCSF.

"Each nerve cell has a private window into the world of smells and a shared window with its partner. Any one nerve c
'"/>

Contact: Wallace Ravven
wravven@pubaff.ucsf.edu
415-476-2557
University of California - San Francisco
4-Apr-2001


Page: 1 2 3 4

Related biology news :

1. Scientists to prototype cyberinfrastructure for research and education access to ocean observatories
2. Scientists sequence genome of kind of organism central to biospheres carbon cycle
3. Scientists find nanowires capable of detecting individual viruses
4. Scientists discover potential new way to control drug-resistant bacteria
5. Scientists explore genome of methane-breathing microbe
6. Scientists decipher genetic code of biothreat pathogen
7. Stuck on you: Scientists lay bare secrets of bacterial attachment proteins
8. Scientists discover proteins involved in spread of HIV-1 infection
9. Scientists fear new Ebola outbreak may explain sudden gorilla disappearance
10. Scientists reinvent DNA as template to produce organic molecules
11. Scientists visualise cellular handmaiden that restores shape to proteins

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:8/15/2017)... ivWatch LLC , a medical device company focused on improving the ... its ISO 13485 Certification, the global standard for medical device quality ... ... device for the early detection of IV infiltrations. ... "This is an important milestone for ivWatch, as it validates ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... first robotic gym for the rehabilitation and functional motor sense evaluation of ... Italy . The first 30 robots will be available from June ... . The technology was developed and patented at the IIT laboratories and ... thanks to a 10 million euro investment from entrepreneur Sergio Dompè. ... ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... New York , April 19, 2017 ... competitive, as its vendor landscape is marked by the ... the market is however held by five major players ... Safran. Together these companies accounted for nearly 61% of ... of the leading companies in the global military biometrics ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... , Oct. 10, 2017 International research firm Parks Associates ... will speak at the TMA 2017 Annual Meeting , October 11 ... in the residential home security market and how smart safety and security ... Parks Associates: ... "The residential security ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... The Pittcon Program Committee ... honoring scientists who have made outstanding contributions to analytical chemistry and applied ... the world’s leading conference and exposition for laboratory science, which will be held ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 09, 2017 , ... At its ... Dr. Christopher Stubbs, a professor in Harvard University’s Departments of Physics and Astronomy, has ... was a member of the winning team for the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... ... and applications consulting for microscopy and surface analysis, Nanoscience Instruments is now ... Analytical offers a broad range of contract analysis services for advanced applications. ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: