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Transformation of Olfactory Representations in the Drosophila Antennal Lobe

Science  16 Jan 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5656, pp. 366-370
DOI: 10.1126/science.1090782

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Abstract

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.

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