Neuroscience conference 2022

Hitoshi Sakano

University of Fukui, Japan

Title: Processing of odor information during the respiratory cycle in mice


In the mouse olfactory system, odor signals detected in the olfactory epithelium are converted to a topographic map of activated glomeruli in the olfactory bulb (1).  The map information is then conveyed by projection neurons, mitral cells (MCs) and tufted cells (TCs), to various areas in the olfactory cortex.  An odor map is transmitted to the anterior olfactory nucleus by (TCs) for odor identification and recollection of associated memory for learned decisions.  For instinct decisions, odor information is directly transmitted to the valence regions in the amygdala by specific subsets of MCs (2). Transmission of orthonasal odor signals through these two distinct pathways, innate and learned, are closely related with exhalation and inhalation, respectively.  Furthermore, the retronasal and orthonasal signals are differentially processed during the respiratory cycle, suggesting that these signals are processed in separate areas of the olfactory bulb and olfactory cortex (3).  I will summarize the recent progress in the study of the olfactory circuitry and odor processing during respiration.

1.  Mori, K. and Sakano, H., How is the olfactory map formed and interpreted in the mammalian brain? Annu. Rev. Neurosci. 34, 467-499 (2011)
2.  Mori, K. and Sakano, H., Olfactory circuitry and behavioral decisions. Annu. Rev. Physiol. 83, 231-256 (2021).
3.  Mori, K. and Sakano, H., Processing of odor information during the respiratory cycle in mice. Front. Neural Circuits 16, 861800 (2022)


Dr. Sakano received his Ph.D. degree from Kyoto University in 1976.  For his thesis work, Dr. Sakano investigated tRNA processing by isolating the temperature-sensitive mutants of a ribozyme, RNase P, in E. coli.  From 1978, to 1981, Dr. Sakano worked with Prof. Susumu Tonegawa at Basel Institute for Immunology in Switzerland on immunoglobulin (Ig) genes to solve the problem of antibody diversity.  He published four Nature article papers as a first author, providing the evidence for combinatorial and junctional diversification of antibody genes. Once independent at UC Berkeley as Assistant Professor in 1982, Dr. Sakano continued to work on Ig gene rearrangement and was promoted to tenured Full Professor in 1992.  Dr. Sakano relocated to University of Tokyo in 1996, changing his research field to Neuroscience.  Since then, he has been studying axon wiring and neural map formation in the mouse olfactory system.  Dr. Sakano is currently Professor Emeritus at University of Tokyo and Professor in Neuroscience at University of Fukui.