Presentation Title

“Dissecting the mechanisms underlying attraction to catnip oil: Who doesn’t like catnip?”

Faculty Mentor

Gareth Harris

Start Date

23-11-2019 8:00 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 8:45 AM

Location

99

Session

poster 1

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

biological_agricultural_sciences

Abstract

Brianna Ramos and Gareth Harris (CSUCI)

“Dissecting the mechanisms underlying attraction to catnip oil: Who doesn’t like catnip?”

In vertebrates and invertebrates, an organism’s behavioral response can be significantly influenced by olfactory behavior. Animals across phyla constantly utilize chemosensory functions for survival. Organisms are also able to couple odor sensation with physiological responses and behavioral states to coordinate specific responses involved in bonding, social interaction, mating, and feeding. Mammals such as felines/cats respond to chemicals in the form of odors using olfaction and respond based on integration of these types of cues at multiple levels of the CNS to regulate behavioral output. One fascinating behavioral response to chemical stimuli is the response of cats to “catnip”. The plant terpenoid nepetalactone is the main chemical constituent of the essential oil of Nepeta cataria.

In this present study, the invertebrate nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans is used as a model system to provide an understanding of behavioral responses to catnip oil. Using a chemoattraction assay, we have found that, 1) wild type worms are attracted towards undiluted catnip oil, 2) multiple sensory neurons in the nose of the worm and contributing key molecules in these sensory neurons are essential for catnip attraction, and 3) we have identified neurotransmitter systems that coordinate these attractions to catnip stimuli. Overall, the data suggests there are distinct neurons and signaling molecules that coordinate this behavior and ultimately drive olfactory dependent catnip attraction. In order to continue identifying the molecular mechanisms and neural circuits that mediate this response, reverse genetics and behavioral analysis will continue to be used in hopes to forward our research towards identifying neurons and neurotransmitters that participate in a C. elegans sensorimotor system to regulate catnip attraction, we hope that our findings will provide further insight into the olfactory mechanism that coordinate mammalian behaviors associated with olfactory behavior.

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Nov 23rd, 8:00 AM Nov 23rd, 8:45 AM

“Dissecting the mechanisms underlying attraction to catnip oil: Who doesn’t like catnip?”

99

Brianna Ramos and Gareth Harris (CSUCI)

“Dissecting the mechanisms underlying attraction to catnip oil: Who doesn’t like catnip?”

In vertebrates and invertebrates, an organism’s behavioral response can be significantly influenced by olfactory behavior. Animals across phyla constantly utilize chemosensory functions for survival. Organisms are also able to couple odor sensation with physiological responses and behavioral states to coordinate specific responses involved in bonding, social interaction, mating, and feeding. Mammals such as felines/cats respond to chemicals in the form of odors using olfaction and respond based on integration of these types of cues at multiple levels of the CNS to regulate behavioral output. One fascinating behavioral response to chemical stimuli is the response of cats to “catnip”. The plant terpenoid nepetalactone is the main chemical constituent of the essential oil of Nepeta cataria.

In this present study, the invertebrate nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans is used as a model system to provide an understanding of behavioral responses to catnip oil. Using a chemoattraction assay, we have found that, 1) wild type worms are attracted towards undiluted catnip oil, 2) multiple sensory neurons in the nose of the worm and contributing key molecules in these sensory neurons are essential for catnip attraction, and 3) we have identified neurotransmitter systems that coordinate these attractions to catnip stimuli. Overall, the data suggests there are distinct neurons and signaling molecules that coordinate this behavior and ultimately drive olfactory dependent catnip attraction. In order to continue identifying the molecular mechanisms and neural circuits that mediate this response, reverse genetics and behavioral analysis will continue to be used in hopes to forward our research towards identifying neurons and neurotransmitters that participate in a C. elegans sensorimotor system to regulate catnip attraction, we hope that our findings will provide further insight into the olfactory mechanism that coordinate mammalian behaviors associated with olfactory behavior.