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Pu, Y., Palombo, M.M.M., Shen, P. (2018). Contribution of DA Signaling to Appetitive Odor Perception in a Drosophila Model.  Sci. Rep. 8(1): 5978.
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Research paper

Understanding cognitive processes that translate chemically diverse olfactory stimuli to specific appetitive drives remains challenging. We have shown that food-related odors arouse impulsive-like feeding of food media that are palatable and readily accessible in well-nourished Drosophila larvae. Here we provide evidence that two assemblies of four dopamine (DA) neurons, one per brain hemisphere, contribute to perceptual processing of the qualitative and quantitative attributes of food scents. These DA neurons receive neural representations of chemically diverse food-related odors, and their combined neuronal activities become increasingly important as the chemical complexity of an appetizing odor stimulus increases. Furthermore, in each assembly of DA neurons, integrated odor signals are transformed to one-dimensional DA outputs that have no intrinsic reward values. Finally, a genetic analysis has revealed a D1-type DA receptor (Dop1R1)-gated mechanism in neuropeptide Y-like neurons that assigns appetitive significance to selected DA outputs. Our findings suggest that fly larvae provide a useful platform for elucidation of molecular and circuit mechanisms underlying cognitive processing of olfactory and possibly other sensory cues.

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PMC5899149 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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