The Grueneberg ganglion controls odor-driven food choices in mice under threat

Commun Biol. 2020 Sep 24;3(1):533. doi: 10.1038/s42003-020-01257-w.


The ability to efficiently search for food is fundamental for animal survival. Olfactory messages are used to find food while being aware of the impending risk of predation. How these different olfactory clues are combined to optimize decision-making concerning food selection remains elusive. Here, we find that chemical danger cues drive the food selection in mice via the activation of a specific olfactory subsystem, the Grueneberg ganglion (GG). We show that a functional GG is required to decipher the threatening quality of an unfamiliar food. We also find that the increase in corticosterone, which is GG-dependent, enhances safe food preference acquired during social transmission. Moreover, we demonstrate that memory retrieval for food preference can be extinguished by activation of the GG circuitry. Our findings reveal a key function played by the GG in controlling contextual food responses and illustrate how mammalian organisms integrate environmental chemical stress to optimize decision-making.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Food Preferences / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Odorants
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiology
  • Olfactory Pathways / physiology*
  • Smell / physiology*