美国哥伦比亚大学Richard Axel、冷泉港实验室Adam Kepecs等研究人员合作发现，信息素darcin引发固有和强化行为的神经回路。这一研究成果于2020年1月29日在线发表在国际学术期刊《自然》上。
Title: The pheromone darcin drives a circuit for innate and reinforced behaviours
Author: Ebru Demir, Kenneth Li, Natasha Bobrowski-Khoury, Joshua I. Sanders, Robert J. Beynon, Jane L. Hurst, Adam Kepecs, Richard Axel
Abstract: Organisms have evolved diverse behavioural strategies that enhance the likelihood of encountering and assessing mates1. Many species use pheromones to communicate information about the location, sexual and social status of potential partners2. In mice, the major urinary protein darcin—which is present in the urine of males—provides a component of a scent mark that elicits approach by females and drives learning3,4. Here we show that darcin elicits a complex and variable behavioural repertoire that consists of attraction, ultrasonic vocalization and urinary scent marking, and also serves as a reinforcer in learning paradigms. We identify a genetically determined circuit—extending from the accessory olfactory bulb to the posterior medial amygdala—that is necessary for all behavioural responses to darcin. Moreover, optical activation of darcin-responsive neurons in the medial amygdala induces both the innate and the conditioned behaviours elicited by the pheromone. These neurons define a topographically segregated population that expresses neuronal nitric oxide synthase. We suggest that this darcin-activated neural circuit integrates pheromonal information with internal state to elicit both variable innate behaviours and reinforced behaviours that may promote mate encounters and mate selection.