Minghong Ma, Ph.D.

faculty photo
Associate Professor of Neuroscience
Department: Neuroscience
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
110 Johnson Pavilion
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: (215) 746-2790
Fax: 215-573-9050
Education:
B.S. (Biophysics)
Peking University , 1988.
M.S. (Biophysics)
Chinese Academy of Sciences, 1991.
Ph.D. (Neuroscience)
Columbia University , 1997.
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Description of Research Expertise

RESEARCH INTEREST

Neurobiology of the sense of smell


RESEARCH TECHNIQUES

Patch clamp, Optical imaging, In situ hybridization, Immunohistochemistry, Neurotracing, Genechip, and Gene targeting

RESEARCH SUMMARY

The mammalian olfactory system has the amazing capability of detecting and discriminating a myriad of odors, which relies on a large number (~1200 in rodents) of G-protein coupled odorant receptors. Each olfactory sensory neuron in the nose manages to express only one type odorant receptor. Even though the sensory neurons expressing a particular receptor are scattered in the nose, their axons converge onto two topographically specific microdomains (named glomeruli) in the olfactory bulb, the first relay center in the brain for processing odor information. By combining patch clamp, optical imaging, molecular, and genetic approaches, we are investigating how the olfactory sensory neurons with defined odorant receptors encode different odors in the environment and how olfactory experience modifies the sensitivity and organization of the system. In addition, we recently discovered that the olfactory sensory neurons serve dual functions as odor detectors and mechanical sensors. We are investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying the mechanosensitivity of these neurons and integration of the odor and airflow information by the olfactory system.

Selected Publications

Lee AC, He J and Ma M: Olfactory Marker Protein Is Critical for Functional Maturation of Olfactory Sensory Neurons and Development of Mother Preference. J Neurosci 31: 2974–2982, 2011.

Tan J, Savigner A, Ma M and Luo M: Odor information processing by the olfactory bulb analyzed in gene-targeted mice. Neuron 65: 912-926, 2010.

Grosmaitre X, Fuss SH, Lee AC, Adipietro KA, Matsunami H, Mombaerts P and Ma M: SR1, a mouse odorant receptor with an unusually broad response profile. J Neurosci 29: 14545-14552, 2009.

Savigner A, Duchamp-Viret P, Grosmaitre X, Chaput M, Garcia S, Ma M and Palouzier-Paulignan B: Modulation of spontaneous and odorant-evoked activity of rat olfactory sensory neurons by two anorectic peptides, insulin and leptin. J Neurophysiol 101: 2898-2906, 2009.

Tian H and Ma M: Activity plays a role in eliminating olfactory sensory neurons expressing multiple odorant receptors in the mouse septal organ. Mol Cell Neurosci 38: 484-488, 2008.

Grosmaitre X, Santarelli LC, Tan J, Luo M and Ma M: Dual functions of mammalian olfactory sensory neurons as odor detectors and mechanical sensors. Nature Neurosci 10: 348-354, 2007. Notes: Featured in Research Highlights in Nature (March 1, 2007), 446:5.

Grosmaitre X, Vassalli A, Mombaerts P, Shepherd GM and Ma M: Odorant responses of olfactory sensory neurons expressing the odorant receptor MOR23: a patch clamp analysis in gene-targeted mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 103: 1970-1975, 2006. Notes: Featured in “In This Issue” by PNAS.

Tian H and Ma M: Molecular organization of the olfactory septal organ. J Neurosci 24: 8383-8390, 2004.

Zhang X, Rogers M, Tian H, ZouD, Liu J, Ma M, Shepherd GM and Firestein SJ: High-throughput microarray detection of odorant receptor gene expression in the mouse. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 101: 14168-14173, 2004.

Ma M, Grosmaitre X, Iwema CL, Baker H, Greer CA and Shepherd GM: Olfactory signal transduction in the mouse septal organ. J Neurosci 23: 317-324, 2003.

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Last updated: 12/13/2013
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