Behavioral strategies employed for chemotaxis have been described across phyla, but the sensorimotor basis of this phenomenon has seldom been studied in naturalistic contexts. Here, we examine how signals experienced during free olfactory behaviors are processed by first-order olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) of the Drosophila larva. We find that OSNs can act as differentiators that transiently normalize stimulus intensity—a property potentially derived from a combination of integral feedback and feed-forward regulation of olfactory transduction. In olfactory virtual reality experiments, we report that high activity levels of the OSN suppress turning, whereas low activity levels facilitate turning. Using a generalized linear model, we explain how peripheral encoding of olfactory stimuli modulates the probability of switching from a run to a turn. Our work clarifies the link between computations carried out at the sensory periphery and action selection underlying navigation in odor gradients.DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.06694.001
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSEThe link between type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and depression is bidirectional. However, the possibility that metabolic disorders may elicit anxiogenic-like/depressive-like symptoms or alter the efficacy of antidepressant drugs remains poorly documented. This study explored the influence of T2DM on emotionality and proposed a therapeutic strategy that might be used in depressed diabetic patients. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACHMice were fed a high-fat diet (HFD) and subjected to a full comprehensive metabolic and behavioural analysis to establish correlations between metabolic and psychiatric disorders. In vivo intra-hippocampal microdialysis was also applied to propose a mechanism underpinning the phenotype of mice fed the HFD. Finally, we tested whether chronic administration of the selective 5-HT reuptake inhibitor escitalopram or HFD withdrawal could reverse HFD-induced metabolic and behavioural anomalies. KEY RESULTSThe increased body weight, hyperglycaemia and impaired glucose tolerance in response to HFD were correlated with anxiogeniclike/depressive-like symptoms. Moreover, this phenotype was associated with decreased extracellular 5-HT levels in the hippocampus which may result from increased sensitivity of the dorsal raphe 5-HT 1A autoreceptor. Interestingly, the beneficial effect of prolonged administration of escitalopram was abolished in HFD-fed mice. On the contrary, HFD withdrawal completely reversed metabolic impairments and positively changed symptoms of anxiety, although some behavioural anomalies persisted. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONSOur data provide clear-cut evidence that both pathologies are finely correlated and associated with impaired 5-HT mediated neurotransmission in the hippocampus. Further experiments are warranted to define the most adequate strategy for the treatment of such co-morbidity. LINKED ARTICLES
To find a mating partner, moths rely on pheromone communication. Released in very low amounts, female sex pheromones are used by males to identify and localize females. Depending on the physiological state (i.e. age, reproductive state), the olfactory system of the males of the noctuid moth Agrotis ipsilon is 'switched on or off'. To understand the neural basis of this behavioural plasticity, we performed a detailed characterization of the qualitative, quantitative and temporal aspects of pheromone coding in the primary centre of integration of pheromonal information, the macroglomerular complex (MGC) of the antennal lobe. MGC neurons were intracellularly recorded and stained in sexually mature virgin males. When stimulating antennae of males with the three main components of the female pheromone blend, most of the neurons showed a biphasic excitatory-inhibitory response. Although they showed different preferences, 80% of the neurons responded at least to the main pheromone component (Z-7-dodecenyl acetate). Six stained neurons responding to this component had their dendrites in the largest MGC glomerulus. Changes in the stimulus intensity and duration affected the excitatory phase but not the inhibitory phase properties. The stimulus intensity was shown to be encoded in the firing frequency, the number of spikes and the latency of the excitatory phase, whereas the stimulus duration only changed its duration. We conclude that the inhibitory input provided by local interneurons following the excitatory phase might not contribute directly to the encoding of stimulus characteristics. The data presented will serve as a basis for comparison with those of immature and mated males.
Innate behaviours in animals can be influenced by several factors, such as the environment, experience, or physiological status. This behavioural plasticity originates from changes in the underlying neuronal substrate. A well-described form of plasticity is induced by mating. In both vertebrates and invertebrates, males experience a post-ejaculatory refractory period, during which they avoid new females. In the male moth Agrotis ipsilon, mating induces a transient inhibition of responses to the female-produced sex pheromone. To understand the neural bases of this inhibition and its possible odour specificity, we carried out a detailed analysis of the response characteristics of the different neuron types from the periphery to the central level. We examined the response patterns of pheromone-sensitive and plant volatile-sensitive neurons in virgin and mated male moths. By using intracellular recordings, we showed that mating changes the response characteristics of pheromone-sensitive antennal lobe (AL) neurons, and thus decreases their sensitivity to sex pheromone. Individual olfactory receptor neuron (ORN) recordings and calcium imaging experiments indicated that pheromone sensory input remains constant. On the other hand, calcium responses to non-pheromonal odours (plant volatiles) increased after mating, as reflected by increased firing frequencies of plant-sensitive AL neurons, although ORN responses to heptanal remained unchanged. We suggest that differential processing of pheromone and plant odours allows mated males to transiently block their central pheromone detection system, and increase non-pheromonal odour detection in order to efficiently locate food sources.
In the olfactory system of male moths, a specialized subset of neurons detects and processes the main component of the sex pheromone emitted by females. It is composed of several thousand first-order olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs), all expressing the same pheromone receptor, that contact synaptically a few tens of second-order projection neurons (PNs) within a single restricted brain area. The functional simplicity of this system makes it a favorable model for studying the factors that contribute to its exquisite sensitivity and speed. Sensory information—primarily the identity and intensity of the stimulus—is encoded as the firing rate of the action potentials, and possibly as the latency of the neuron response. We found that over all their dynamic range, PNs respond with a shorter latency and a higher firing rate than most ORNs. Modelling showed that the increased sensitivity of PNs can be explained by the ORN-to-PN convergent architecture alone, whereas their faster response also requires cell-to-cell heterogeneity of the ORN population. So, far from being detrimental to signal detection, the ORN heterogeneity is exploited by PNs, and results in two different schemes of population coding based either on the response of a few extreme neurons (latency) or on the average response of many (firing rate). Moreover, ORN-to-PN transformations are linear for latency and nonlinear for firing rate, suggesting that latency could be involved in concentration-invariant coding of the pheromone blend and that sensitivity at low concentrations is achieved at the expense of precise encoding at high concentrations.
SUMMARYIn the male moth, Agrotis ipsilon, mating induces a transient inhibition of behavioural and central nervous responses to sex pheromone. Newly mated males are not attracted to sex pheromone, and the sensitivity of their antennal lobe (AL) neurons is lower than in virgin males. This rapid transient olfactory inhibition prevents them from re-mating unsuccessfully until they have refilled their sex glands. We hypothesized that this olfactory 'switch off' might be controlled by neuromodulators such as biogenic amines. To test our hypothesis, we studied the effects of octopamine (OA) and serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) on the coding properties of pheromone-sensitive AL neurons in virgin and newly mated males. We show that AL neuron sensitivity increased in newly mated males after injection of OA or 5-HT, but only OA treatment affected certain response characteristics of AL neurons in virgin males. Whereas all measured AL neuron response characteristics were different between virgin and newly mated males, amine treatment in newly mated males restored only the latency and spike frequency, but not the duration of excitatory and inhibitory phases, which were initially found in virgin males. Additionally, we investigated the behavioural effects of OA and 5-HT treatments in virgin and mated males. Although OA and 5-HT enhanced the general flight activity of newly mated males, amine treatments did not restore the behavioural pheromone response of mated moths. Altogether, these results show that, although biogenic amines modulate the olfactory system in moths, OA and 5-HT are probably not involved in the post-mating inhibition of responses to sex pheromone in A. ipsilon males.
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