Editors' ChoiceNeuroscience

Sensing Alarm

Science Signaling  26 Aug 2008:
Vol. 1, Issue 34, pp. ec302
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.134ec302

In 1973, Hans Grueneberg observed the presence of a structure at the tip of the rodent nose that, he thought, belonged to the Nervus terminalis. Recently, using transgenic techniques, several groups reported the rediscovery of this structure. They named this structure the Grueneberg ganglion in memory of the original work. However, the function of these cells remains a matter of controversy. Despite the lack of typical olfactory neuronal features, the ganglion was suggested to have some olfactory function, based on the expression of olfactory marker protein and on its neural connections to the olfactory bulb of the brain. Brechbühl et al. have now identified a function for the Grueneberg ganglion cells. A combination of anatomical, surgical, and behavioral techniques was used to suggest that the Grueneberg ganglion is involved in alarm pheromone detection.

J. Brechbühl, M. Klaey, M.-C. Broillet, Grueneberg ganglion cells mediate alarm pheromone detection in mice. Science 321, 1092-1095 (2008). [Abstract] [Full Text]