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Chem Senses. 2004 Mar;29(3):253-67.

Representation of primary plant odorants in the antennal lobe of the moth Heliothis virescens using calcium imaging.

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Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Department of Biology, Neuroscience Unit, Olav Kyrres gate 3, NO-7489 Trondheim, Norway.

Erratum in

  • Chem Senses. 2004 May;29(4):363.


The primary olfactory centre, the antennal lobe of Heliothis virescens moths, contains 62 glomeruli which process plant odour information and four male-specific glomeruli which form the macroglomerular complex, involved in processing information about pheromone and interspecific signals. Using calcium imaging, we recorded the spatio-temporal activity pattern of the glomeruli in the anterior antennal lobe during stimulation with odorants produced by plants or insects. Each odorant elicited specific excitatory responses in one or a few glomeruli: the major pheromone component did so exclusively in the large glomerulus of the macroglomerular complex and the plant odours exclusively in the ordinary glomeruli. Eight glomeruli, with corresponding plant odour responses and positions, were identified within each sex. Glomeruli responded specifically to linalool, beta-ocimene/beta-myrcene or germacrene D/alpha-farnesene. Responses to two essential plant oils covered the response areas of their major constituents, as well as activating additional glomeruli. Stronger activation in the AL due to increased odour concentration was expressed as increased response strength within the odorant-specific glomeruli as well as recruitment of less sensitive glomeruli.

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