The Role of Cortical Feedback in Olfactory Processing

Gonzalo Otazu

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 at 12:00pm
560 Evans Hall

The olfactory bulb receives rich glutamatergic projections from the piriform cortex. However, the dynamics and importance of these feedback signals remain unknown. In the first part of this talk, I will present data from multiphoton calcium imaging of cortical feedback in the olfactory bulb of awake mice. Responses of feedback boutons were sparse, odor specific, and often outlasted stimuli by several seconds. Odor presentation either enhanced or suppressed the activity of boutons. However, any given bouton responded with stereotypic polarity across multiple odors, preferring either enhancement or suppression. Inactivation of piriform cortex increased odor responsiveness and pairwise similarity of mitral cells but had little impact on tufted cells. We propose that cortical feedback differentially impacts these two output channels of the bulb by specifically decorrelating mitral cell responses to enable odor separation. In the second part of the talk I will introduce a computational model of odor identification in natural scenes that uses cortical feedback and how the model predictions match our experimental data.