Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 34, Issue 7, pp 928–942 | Cite as

Neural Computations with Mammalian Infochemicals

Review Article

Abstract

The mammalian olfactory system is the most sensitive and discriminating molecular recognition system known, able to detect a few dozen critical molecules in the face of strong and variable background odorants. The set of information-containing volatile molecules used to transmit information within and between mammalian species shows both great molecular and informational diversity. Chemosensory neuroscientists that apply traditional reductionist methods to the analysis of information processing and computational principles in the olfactory system find great value in understanding the ecological and ethological context in which mammalian olfactory communication occurs. This review highlights a subset of the molecular armamentarium and information transmissions relevant to understanding the uses of olfactory communication by mammals in an ecological context.

Keywords

Olfaction Information processing Odor learning Pheromones Scent marking Olfactory bulb Piriform cortex Chemical signaling Olfactory models Olfactory computation Active sampling Receptor mapping Neural information processing 

Abbreviations

2DG

2-deoxyglucose

AOB

accessory olfactory bulb

CA1

cornu ammonis field 1

CA3

cornu ammonis field 3

c-FOS

cellular-Finkel osteogenic sarcoma

Egr-1

early growth response protein 1

fMRI

functional magnetic resonance imaging

HLA

human lymphocyte antigen

kDa

kiloDalton

MHC

major histocompatibility complex

MOB

main olfactory bulb

MOE

main olfactory epithelium

M/T

mitral/tufted

MTMT

(methylthio)methanethiol

ORN

olfactory receptor neuron

VNO

vomeronasal organ

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Monell Chemical Senses CenterPhiladelphiaUSA

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