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Devaud, J.M., Keane, J., Ferrus, A. (2003). Blocking sensory inputs to identified antennal glomeruli selectively modifies odorant perception in Drosophila.  J. Neurobiol. 56(1): 1--12.
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Neural coding of sensory input is a major unsolved issue in neuroscience. Current experimental methods rely on neural activity recording or visualization following sensory stimulation. Most of them, however, do not include behavioral correlates on the actual perception by the animal. We present a novel approach to address olfaction and coding in adult Drosophila. Sensory input was selectively blocked in two subsets of sensory neurons that project to different, albeit overlapping, groups of central targets, by means of tetanus toxin expressed under the control of the yeast transcription factor Gal4. Glomeruli DL1, DL2, VM1, and VM4 were tested following stimulation with benzaldehyde, ethyl acetate, propionic acid, butanol, or acetone at various concentrations. The behavioral response was found to be modified in an odorant-specific and a concentration-dependent manner. Sensory input to DL2 and, to a minor extent, VM1 and/or VM4, appear to be required for benzaldehyde perception, while acetone is processed through DL1. None of these glomeruli, however, seem necessary for butanol perception. In addition, sexual differences were observed for some stimuli. These results demonstrate the behavioral relevance of odor representation as maps of glomerular activity generated in the antennal lobes following specific sensory input. The strategy used here should be useful to characterize olfactory coding, as new and selective Gal4 lines become available.
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    J. Neurobiol.
    Journal of Neurobiology
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