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Olfactory Processing in Drosophila Attenal Lobes

Zuoren Wang

Institute of Neuroscience
Chinese Academy of Sciences


The Drosophila olfactory system is a useful model for studying the circuitry mechanisms of sensory information processing. Similar to the mammalian mitral/tufted cells in olfactory bulbs, Drosophila PN dendrites are both pre- and post-synaptic in ALs, with homotypic PNs making cholinergic and electrical synapses among themselves, as well as with processes of excitatory local interneurons (LNs) in the same glomerulus. How PN connections within ALs contribute to olfactory signal processing remains to be fully understood. Here we show that inter-glomeruli crosstalk mediated by PNs exists in ALs and directly modulates olfactory processing. Using dual whole-cell recording and high-resolution optogenetic manipulation, we found that activation of individual PNs resulted in depolarization of PNs of different glomeruli and LNs in ALs were simultaneously excited. Furthermore, upon odorant reception in vivo, activity of individual PNs was strongly modulated by coincident activities of heterotypic PNs, indicating active role of PN-mediated inter-glomerular crosstalk in physiological olfactory processing. Thus, PNs not only relay information from ALs to higher brain regions, but also actively contribute to signal processing in ALs. This PN-mediated inter-glomerular crosstalk may represent a major mechanism for sharpening the olfactory response in specific glomeruli and for gain control in ALs.  

Short Bio

Dr. Zuoren Wang did his undergraduate study at East China University of Science and Technology, and received his master degree from Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry in the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He pursued his Ph.D. degree at Rutgers University-New Brunswick in New Jersey from September 1997 to April 2002. Then, he conducted his post-doctoral research in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at University of California-Berkeley. He joined the faculty of ION in 2005 as Principal Investigator and Head of the "Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Animal Behavior".The research in his lab is aimed at mechanistically understanding the modulation of animal behavior by chemosensory inputs at the level of the neural circuitry.

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Last updated: January 19, 2013