Asymmetric neurotransmitter release enables rapid odor lateralization in Drosophila
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CitationGaudry, Quentin, Elizabeth J. Hong, Jamey Kain, Benjamin L. de Bivort, and Rachel I. Wilson. 2012. “Asymmetric neurotransmitter release enables rapid odor lateralization in Drosophila.” Nature 493 (7432): 424-428. doi:10.1038/nature11747. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature11747.
AbstractIn Drosophila, most individual olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) project bilaterally to both sides of the brain1,2. Having bilateral rather than unilateral projections may represent a useful redundancy. However, bilateral ORN projections to the brain should also compromise the ability to lateralize odors. Nevertheless, walking or flying Drosophila reportedly turn toward their more strongly stimulated antenna3-5. Here we show that each ORN spike releases ~40% more neurotransmitter from the axon branch ipsilateral to the soma, as compared to the contralateral branch. As a result, when an odor activates the antennae asymmetrically, ipsilateral central neurons begin to spike a few milliseconds before contralateral neurons, and ipsilateral central neurons also fire at a 30-50% higher rate. We show that a walking fly can detect a 5% asymmetry in total ORN input to its left and right antennal lobes, and can turn toward the odor in less time than it requires the fly to complete a stride. These results demonstrate that neurotransmitter release properties can be tuned independently at output synapses formed by a single axon onto two target cells with identical functions and morphologies. Our data also show that small differences in spike timing and spike rate can produce reliable differences in olfactory behavior.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:11717488