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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Jun 23;106(25):10314-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0900178106. Epub 2009 Jun 5.

Localized olfactory representation in mushroom bodies of Drosophila larvae.

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Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.


Odor discrimination in higher brain centers is essential for behavioral responses to odors. One such center is the mushroom body (MB) of insects, which is required for odor discrimination learning. The calyx of the MB receives olfactory input from projection neurons (PNs) that are targets of olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) in the antennal lobe (AL). In the calyx, olfactory information is transformed from broadly-tuned representations in PNs to sparse representations in MB neurons (Kenyon cells). However, the extent of stereotypy in olfactory representations in the calyx is unknown. Using the anatomically-simple larval olfactory system of Drosophila in which odor ligands for the entire set of 21 OSNs are known, we asked how odor identity is represented in the MB calyx. We first mapped the projections of all larval OSNs in the glomeruli of the AL, and then followed the connections of individual PNs from the AL to different calyx glomeruli. We thus established a comprehensive olfactory map from OSNs to a higher olfactory association center, at a single-cell level. Stimulation of single OSNs evoked strong neuronal activity in 1 to 3 calyx glomeruli, showing that broadening of the strongest PN responses is limited to a few calyx glomeruli. Stereotypic representation of single OSN input in calyx glomeruli provides a mechanism for MB neurons to detect and discriminate olfactory cues.

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