A repellent odor inhibits the perception of a pleasant odor in vinegar flies

ScienceDaily | 3/15/2019 | Staff
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"In this study, we aimed to investigate how odor mixtures of opposite valence, that is, a mix of odors that are attractive and repellent, are processed and perceived," explains Ahmed Mohamed, lead author of the study, adding: "By taking advantage of the sophisticated genetics available in Drosophila, we elucidated the neural mechanism that enables the animal to evaluate such conflicting situations in order to take the appropriate decision."

The scientists exposed the vinegar fly Drosophila melanogaster to artificial odor mixtures, each containing an attractive and repellent odor, in defined ratios. By analyzing the brain activity of these opposing odor mixtures using functional imaging techniques, they were able to show that a repellent component in an odor mixture specifically inhibits the odor channels for attractants. "This inhibition correlates with a reduced attraction to the odor source" explains Silke Sachse. The underlying neuronal mechanism and the specific neurons involved could also be identified.

Data - Specific - Cross-talk - Olfactory - Center

"Our data demonstrate a specific, inhibitory cross-talk in the olfactory center of the fly's brain. Using further genetic tools we were able to show that glomeruli, spherical functional units in the olfactory center, that respond to attractive odors, are linked via specific inhibitory neurons to...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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