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PLoS One. 2011;6(9):e24300. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024300. Epub 2011 Sep 9.

A combined perceptual, physico-chemical, and imaging approach to 'odour-distances' suggests a categorizing function of the Drosophila antennal lobe.

Author information

1
Biozentrum, Neurobiologie und Genetik, Universität Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany.

Abstract

How do physico-chemical stimulus features, perception, and physiology relate? Given the multi-layered and parallel architecture of brains, the question specifically is where physiological activity patterns correspond to stimulus features and/or perception. Perceived distances between six odour pairs are defined behaviourally from four independent odour recognition tasks. We find that, in register with the physico-chemical distances of these odours, perceived distances for 3-octanol and n-amylacetate are consistently smallest in all four tasks, while the other five odour pairs are about equally distinct. Optical imaging in the antennal lobe, using a calcium sensor transgenically expressed in only first-order sensory or only second-order olfactory projection neurons, reveals that 3-octanol and n-amylacetate are distinctly represented in sensory neurons, but appear merged in projection neurons. These results may suggest that within-antennal lobe processing funnels sensory signals into behaviourally meaningful categories, in register with the physico-chemical relatedness of the odours.

PMID:
21931676
PMCID:
PMC3170316
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0024300
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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