Excitatory interactions between olfactory processing channels in the Drosophila antennal lobe.
Each odorant receptor gene defines a unique type of olfactory receptor neuron (ORN) and a corresponding type of second-order neuron. Because each odor can activate multiple ORN types, information must ultimately be integrated across these processing channels to form a unified percept. Here, we show that, in Drosophila, integration begins at the level of second-order projection neurons (PNs). We genetically silence all the ORNs that normally express a particular odorant receptor and find that PNs postsynaptic to the silent glomerulus receive substantial lateral excitatory input from other glomeruli. Genetically confining odor-evoked ORN input to just one glomerulus reveals that most PNs postsynaptic to other glomeruli receive indirect excitatory input from the single ORN type that is active. Lateral connections between identified glomeruli vary in strength, and this pattern of connections is stereotyped across flies. Thus, a dense network of lateral connections distributes odor-evoked excitation between channels in the first brain region of the olfactory processing stream.
Olsen, SR; Bhandawat, V; Wilson, RI
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