Research Topic

Accessory Cells of Sensory Systems

About this Research Topic

All cells in the nervous system associate with glia, also called accessory or support cells in the peripheral sensory system. There is growing evidence that these glia do not simply play a structural role as previously thought, but rather actively participate in the process of sensory transduction. This includes functions like regulation of the concentration of ions and solutes in the microenvironment surrounding the primary sensory cells, release of neurotransmitters and neuromodulators, expression of olfactory receptors or mechanically gated channels, and the ability to directly respond to sensory cues. This feature summarizes recent work on glia of the peripheral nervous system. One characteristic of the COVID-19 pandemic, its highly prevalent anosmia, has been mapped to SARS-Cov-2 infection of olfactory accessory cells. This has brought considerable attention to these cells, underscoring not only the importance of basic science research, but also clinical relevance and urgency to understand the functions of these overlooked cells in sensory biology.


The purpose of this Research Topic is to highlight high quality research on the mechanisms underlying the contribution of accessory cells of sensory systems to sensory transduction. We are interested in publishing articles in which mechanisms underlying the functional interaction between accessory and primary sensory cells are described, as well as articles demonstrating direct involvement of the accessory cells to the detection of sensory cues.


In this Research Topic, we welcome submissions from basic and translational studies and review papers focused on olfaction, taste, hearing, touch, and other sensory modalities across species. We would like to summarize current knowledge and point out gaps in the understanding of the role played by accessory cells to sensory transduction across species.

Topics may include but are not limited to the following:

                    Supporting cells of the inner ear.

                    Sustentacular, microvillar, and horizontal cells of the olfactory epithelium.

                    Type I cells of the taste buds.

                    Lamellae of the Pacinian corpuscles.

                    Merkell cells.

                    C. elegans glia.

                    Glial cells of the Chordotonal organ in Drosophila.

                    Support cells of the taste sensilla in Drosophila.

                    The Muller cells of the retina.

                    Electrophysiological properties of accessory cells of sensory systems.

                    Development of the accessory cells of sensory systems.


Keywords: glia, support cells, accessory cells, functional interaction, olfaction, taste, touch, hearing, ionic homeostasis, model organism, C. elegans drosophila, zebrafish


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

All cells in the nervous system associate with glia, also called accessory or support cells in the peripheral sensory system. There is growing evidence that these glia do not simply play a structural role as previously thought, but rather actively participate in the process of sensory transduction. This includes functions like regulation of the concentration of ions and solutes in the microenvironment surrounding the primary sensory cells, release of neurotransmitters and neuromodulators, expression of olfactory receptors or mechanically gated channels, and the ability to directly respond to sensory cues. This feature summarizes recent work on glia of the peripheral nervous system. One characteristic of the COVID-19 pandemic, its highly prevalent anosmia, has been mapped to SARS-Cov-2 infection of olfactory accessory cells. This has brought considerable attention to these cells, underscoring not only the importance of basic science research, but also clinical relevance and urgency to understand the functions of these overlooked cells in sensory biology.


The purpose of this Research Topic is to highlight high quality research on the mechanisms underlying the contribution of accessory cells of sensory systems to sensory transduction. We are interested in publishing articles in which mechanisms underlying the functional interaction between accessory and primary sensory cells are described, as well as articles demonstrating direct involvement of the accessory cells to the detection of sensory cues.


In this Research Topic, we welcome submissions from basic and translational studies and review papers focused on olfaction, taste, hearing, touch, and other sensory modalities across species. We would like to summarize current knowledge and point out gaps in the understanding of the role played by accessory cells to sensory transduction across species.

Topics may include but are not limited to the following:

                    Supporting cells of the inner ear.

                    Sustentacular, microvillar, and horizontal cells of the olfactory epithelium.

                    Type I cells of the taste buds.

                    Lamellae of the Pacinian corpuscles.

                    Merkell cells.

                    C. elegans glia.

                    Glial cells of the Chordotonal organ in Drosophila.

                    Support cells of the taste sensilla in Drosophila.

                    The Muller cells of the retina.

                    Electrophysiological properties of accessory cells of sensory systems.

                    Development of the accessory cells of sensory systems.


Keywords: glia, support cells, accessory cells, functional interaction, olfaction, taste, touch, hearing, ionic homeostasis, model organism, C. elegans drosophila, zebrafish


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

07 June 2021 Abstract
05 October 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

07 June 2021 Abstract
05 October 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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