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Published January 16, 2004 | Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

Transformation of Olfactory Representations in the Drosophila Antennal Lobe


Molecular genetics has revealed a precise stereotypy in the projection of primary olfactory sensory neurons onto secondary neurons. A major challenge is to understand how this mapping translates into odor responses in these second-order neurons. We investigated this question in Drosophila using whole-cell recordings in vivo. We observe that monomolecular odors generally elicit responses in large ensembles of antennal lobe neurons. Comparison of odor-evoked activity from afferents and postsynaptic neurons in the same glomerulus revealed that second-order neurons display broader tuning and more complex responses than their primary afferents. This indicates a major transformation of odor representations, implicating lateral interactions within the antennal lobe.

Additional Information

© 2003 American Association for the Advancement of Science. 25 August 2003; accepted 21 November 2003; published online 18 December 2003. We thank L. Luo, L. Vosshall, R. Stocker, and S. Benzer for fly lines, E. Buchner and A. Hofbauer for nc82 antibody, D. Darcy and M. Dickinson of the Caltech Biological Imaging center for technical assistance, and J. R. Carlson and W. van der Goes van Naters for sharing methods and flies. We thank M. Stopfer, W. D. Tracey, and members of the Laurent lab for helpful discussions. This work was supported by the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation (R.I.W.), the Jane Coffin Childs Foundation (G.C.T.), the McKnight and Keck Foundations, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (G.L.).

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