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J Neurosci. 2004 Jul 21;24(29):6507-14.

Stereotyped odor-evoked activity in the mushroom body of Drosophila revealed by green fluorescent protein-based Ca2+ imaging.

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  • 1Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, New York 11724, USA.


To study the representation of olfactory information in higher brain centers, we expressed a green fluorescent protein-based Ca2+ sensor, G-CaMP, in the Drosophila mushroom body (MB). Using two-photon microscopy, we imaged odor-evoked G-CaMP fluorescence transients in MB neurons [Kenyon cells (KCs)] with single-cell resolution. Odors produced large fluorescence transients in a subset of KC somata and in restricted regions of the calyx, the neuropil of the MB. In different KCs, odor-evoked fluorescence transients showed diverse changes with odor concentration: in some KCs, fluorescence transients were evoked by an odor at concentrations spanning several orders of magnitude, whereas in others only at a narrow concentration range. Different odors produced fluorescence transients in different subsets of KCs. The spatial distributions of KCs showing fluorescence transients evoked by a given odor were similar across individuals. For some odors, individual KCs with fluorescence transients evoked by a particular odor could be found in similar locations in different flies with spatial precisions on the order of the size of KC somata. These results indicate that odor-evoked activity can have remarkable spatial specificity in the MB.

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