Cell publishes "Murine Pheromone Proteins Constitute a Context-Dependent Combinatorial Code Governing Multiple Social Behaviors"
Cell publishes "Murine Pheromone Proteins Constitute a Context-Dependent Combinatorial Code Governing Multiple Social Behaviors" by Angeldeep W. Kaur, Tobias Ackels, Tsung-Han Kuo, Annika Cichy, Sandeepa Dey, Cristen Hays, Maria Kateri, Darren W. Logan, Tobias F. Marton, Marc Spehr and Lisa Stowers.
During social interactions, an individual’s behavior is
largely governed by the subset of signals emitted by
others. Discrimination of ‘‘self’’ from ‘‘other’’ regulates
the territorial urine countermarking behavior of
mice. To identify the cues for this social discrimination
and understand how they are interpreted, we
designed an olfactory-dependent countermarking
assay. We find major urinary proteins (MUPs) sufficient
to elicit countermarking, and unlike other vomeronasal
ligands that are detected by specifically
tuned sensory neurons, MUPs are detected by a
combinatorial strategy. A chemosensory signature
of ‘‘self’’ that modulates behavior is developed via
experience through exposure to a repertoire of
MUPs. In contrast, aggression can be elicited by
MUPs in an experience-independent but contextdependent
manner. These findings reveal that individually
emitted chemical cues can be interpreted
based on their combinatorial permutation and relative
ratios, and they can transmit both fixed and
learned information to promote multiple behaviors.