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PLoS Biol. 2019 Jan 17;17(1):e2006749. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2006749. eCollection 2019 Jan.

Avoidance response to CO2 in the lateral horn.

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Champalimaud Research, Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, Lisbon, Portugal.


In flies, the olfactory information is carried from the first relay in the brain, the antennal lobe, to the mushroom body (MB) and the lateral horn (LH). Olfactory associations are formed in the MB. The LH was ascribed a role in innate responses based on the stereotyped connectivity with the antennal lobe, stereotyped physiological responses to odors, and MB silencing experiments. Direct evidence for the functional role of the LH is still missing. Here, we investigate the behavioral role of the LH neurons (LHNs) directly, using the CO2 response as a paradigm. Our results show the involvement of the LH in innate responses. Specifically, we demonstrate that activity in two sets of neurons is required for the full behavioral response to CO2. Tests of the behavioral response to other odors indicate the neurons are selective to CO2 response. Using calcium imaging, we observe that the two sets of neurons respond to CO2 in a different manner. Using independent manipulation and recording of the two sets of neurons, we find that the one that projects to the superior intermediate protocerebrum (SIP) also outputs to the local neurons within the LH. The design of simultaneous output at the LH and the SIP, an output of the MB, allows for coordination between innate and learned responses.

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