Sensory input reaching the brain from bilateral and offset channels is nonetheless perceived as unified. This unity could be explained by simultaneous projections to both hemispheres, or inter-hemispheric information transfer between sensory cortical maps. Odor input, however, is not topographically organized, nor does it project bilaterally, making olfactory perceptual unity enigmatic. Here we report a circuit that interconnects mirror-symmetric isofunctional mitral/tufted cells between the mouse olfactory bulbs. Connected neurons respond to similar odors from ipsi- and contra-nostrils, whereas unconnected neurons do not respond to odors from the contralateral nostril. This connectivity is likely mediated through a one-to-one mapping from mitral/tufted neurons to the ipsilateral anterior olfactory nucleus pars externa, which activates the mirror-symmetric isofunctional mitral/tufted neurons glutamatergically. This circuit enables sharing of odor information across hemispheres in the absence of a cortical topographical organization, suggesting that olfactory glomerular maps are the equivalent of cortical sensory maps found in other senses.
Keywords: AONpE; bilateral information transfer; inter-hemispheric; mirror-symmetric; odor; odor maps; olfaction; optogenetics; perceptual unity.
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