Masha left the lab with a beautiful parting gift – her lovely paper on the ontogeny and development of GCD cells, which was recently published in Chemical Senses here!
One of the strange and wonderful things about the peripheral olfactory system is that it renews during adulthood. Unlike sensory neurons for vision or audition, olfactory sensory neurons in the nose constantly turn over and are replaced by a population of olfactory stem cells that lives in the olfactory epithelium. This is thought to be a response to the damage from debris, toxins and pathogens (hello, COVID!) that are an unavoidable consequence of inhalation through the nose. We know this process occurs for the conventional neurons that make up the main olfactory system….but do similar processes govern molecularly distinct populations, like the GCD neurons that express Ms4a and GCD receptors? The answer, Masha found, was yes….but with important differences. These developmental differences likely underlie key anatomical and functional differences that distinguish the main and GCD systems, thus linking a developmental trajectory to function. Congrats, Masha, on the terrific paper!