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      Non-synaptic inhibition between grouped neurons in an olfactory circuit

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          Summary

          Diverse sensory organs, including mammalian taste buds and insect chemosensory sensilla, show a striking compartmentalization of receptor cells. However, the functional impact of this organization remains unclear. Here we show that compartmentalized Drosophila olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) communicate with each other directly. The sustained response of one ORN is inhibited by the transient activation of a neighboring ORN. Mechanistically, such lateral inhibition does not depend on synapses and is likely mediated by ephaptic coupling. Moreover, lateral inhibition in the periphery can modulate olfactory behavior. Together, the results show that integration of olfactory information can occur via lateral interactions between ORNs. Inhibition of a sustained response by a transient response may provide a means of encoding salience. Finally, a CO 2-sensitive ORN in the malaria mosquito Anopheles can also be inhibited by excitation of an adjacent ORN, suggesting a broad occurrence of lateral inhibition in insects and possible applications in insect control.

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          Most cited references 41

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          The molecular basis of odor coding in the Drosophila antenna.

          We have undertaken a functional analysis of the odorant receptor repertoire in the Drosophila antenna. Each receptor was expressed in a mutant olfactory receptor neuron (ORN) used as a "decoder," and the odor response spectrum conferred by the receptor was determined in vivo by electrophysiological recordings. The spectra of these receptors were then matched to those of defined ORNs to establish a receptor-to-neuron map. In addition to the odor response spectrum, the receptors dictate the signaling mode, i.e., excitation or inhibition, and the response dynamics of the neuron. An individual receptor can mediate both excitatory and inhibitory responses to different odorants in the same cell, suggesting a model of odorant receptor transduction. Receptors vary widely in their breadth of tuning, and odorants vary widely in the number of receptors they activate. Together, these properties provide a molecular basis for odor coding by the receptor repertoire of an olfactory organ.
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            Odor-mediated behavior of Afrotropical malaria mosquitoes.

            The African mosquito species Anopheles gambiae sensu lato s.l. and Anopheles funestus rank among the world's most efficient vectors of human malaria. Their unique bionomics, particularly their anthropophilic, endophagic and endophilic characters, guarantee a strong mosquito-host interaction, favorable to malaria transmission. Olfactory cues govern the various behaviors of female mosquitoes and here we review the role of semiochemicals in the life history of African malaria vectors. Recent evidence points towards the existence of human-specific kairomones affecting host-seeking A. gambiae s.l., and efforts are under way to identify the volatiles mediating this behavior. Based on examples from other Culicidae spp., it is argued that there is good reason to assume that mating, sugar feeding, and oviposition behavior in Afrotropical malaria vectors may also be mediated by semiochemicals. It is foreseen that increased knowledge of odor-mediated behaviors will be applied in the development of novel sampling techniques and possibly alternative methods of intervention to control malaria.
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              Two chemosensory receptors together mediate carbon dioxide detection in Drosophila.

              Blood-feeding insects, including the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae, use highly specialized and sensitive olfactory systems to locate their hosts. This is accomplished by detecting and following plumes of volatile host emissions, which include carbon dioxide (CO2). CO2 is sensed by a population of olfactory sensory neurons in the maxillary palps of mosquitoes and in the antennae of the more genetically tractable fruitfly, Drosophila melanogaster. The molecular identity of the chemosensory CO2 receptor, however, remains unknown. Here we report that CO2-responsive neurons in Drosophila co-express a pair of chemosensory receptors, Gr21a and Gr63a, at both larval and adult life stages. We identify mosquito homologues of Gr21a and Gr63a, GPRGR22 and GPRGR24, and show that these are co-expressed in A. gambiae maxillary palps. We show that Gr21a and Gr63a together are sufficient for olfactory CO2-chemosensation in Drosophila. Ectopic expression of Gr21a and Gr63a together confers CO2 sensitivity on CO2-insensitive olfactory neurons, but neither gustatory receptor alone has this function. Mutant flies lacking Gr63a lose both electrophysiological and behavioural responses to CO2. Knowledge of the molecular identity of the insect olfactory CO2 receptors may spur the development of novel mosquito control strategies designed to take advantage of this unique and critical olfactory pathway. This in turn could bolster the worldwide fight against malaria and other insect-borne diseases.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                0410462
                6011
                Nature
                Nature
                Nature
                0028-0836
                1476-4687
                9 November 2012
                21 November 2012
                6 December 2012
                06 June 2013
                : 492
                : 7427
                : 66-71
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520
                [2 ]Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia, PA 19104
                Author notes
                corresponding author: john.carlson@ 123456yale.edu
                Article
                NIHMS417626
                10.1038/nature11712
                3518700
                23172146

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                Funding
                Funded by: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders : NIDCD
                Award ID: R01 DC011697 || DC
                Funded by: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders : NIDCD
                Award ID: R01 DC009613 || DC
                Funded by: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders : NIDCD
                Award ID: F32 DC011242 || DC
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