Layer- and cell type-selective co-transmission by a basal forebrain cholinergic projection to the olfactory bulb

Nat Commun. 2017 Sep 21;8(1):652. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-00765-4.


Cholinergic neurons in the basal forebrain project heavily to the main olfactory bulb, the first processing station in the olfactory pathway. The projections innervate multiple layers of the main olfactory bulb and strongly influence odor discrimination, detection, and learning. The precise underlying circuitry of this cholinergic input to the main olfactory bulb remains unclear, however. Here, we identify a specific basal forebrain cholinergic projection that innervates select neurons concentrated in the internal plexiform layer of the main olfactory bulb. Optogenetic activation of this projection elicits monosynaptic nicotinic and GABAergic currents in glomerular layer-projecting interneurons. Additionally, we show that the projection co-expresses markers for GABAergic neurotransmission. The data thus implicate neurotransmitter co-transmission in the basal forebrain regulation of this inhibitory olfactory microcircuit.Cholinergic neurons innervate multiple layers in the main olfactory bulb but the precise circuitry of this input is not known. Here the authors show that VGLUT3+ cholinergic neurons selectively innervate deep short axon cells in specific layers and elicit robust monosynaptic GABAergic and nicotinic postsynaptic currents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Transport Systems, Acidic / genetics
  • Amino Acid Transport Systems, Acidic / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cholinergic Neurons / physiology*
  • Diagonal Band of Broca / cytology
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Olfactory Bulb / cytology*
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiology
  • Prosencephalon / cytology*
  • Prosencephalon / physiology
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • Amino Acid Transport Systems, Acidic
  • vesicular glutamate transporter 3, mouse
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid