Effects of Mechanosensory Input on the Tracking of Pulsatile Odor Stimuli by Moth Antennal Lobe Neurons

Harrison Tuckman, Mainak Patel, Hong Lei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Air turbulence ensures that in a natural environment insects tend to encounter odor stimuli in a pulsatile fashion. The frequency and duration of odor pulses varies with distance from the source, and hence successful mid-flight odor tracking requires resolution of spatiotemporal pulse dynamics. This requires both olfactory and mechanosensory input (from wind speed), a form of sensory integration observed within the antennal lobe (AL). In this work, we employ a model of the moth AL to study the effect of mechanosensory input on AL responses to pulsatile stimuli; in particular, we examine the ability of model neurons to: (1) encode the temporal length of a stimulus pulse; (2) resolve the temporal dynamics of a high frequency train of brief stimulus pulses. We find that AL glomeruli receiving olfactory input are adept at encoding the temporal length of a stimulus pulse but less effective at tracking the temporal dynamics of a pulse train, while glomeruli receiving mechanosensory input but little olfactory input can efficiently track the temporal dynamics of high frequency pulse delivery but poorly encode the duration of an individual pulse. Furthermore, we show that stronger intrinsic small-conductance calcium-dependent potassium (SK) currents tend to skew cells toward being better trackers of pulse frequency, while weaker SK currents tend to entail better encoding of the temporal length of individual pulses. We speculate a possible functional division of labor within the AL, wherein, for a particular odor, glomeruli receiving strong olfactory input exhibit prolonged spiking responses that facilitate detailed discrimination of odor features, while glomeruli receiving mechanosensory input (but little olfactory input) serve to resolve the temporal dynamics of brief, pulsatile odor encounters. Finally, we discuss how this hypothesis extends to explaining the functional significance of intraglomerular variability in observed phase II response patterns of AL neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number739730
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Volume15
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 7 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • SK channel
  • antennal lobe model
  • moth olfactory dynamics
  • odor plume tracking
  • odor pulse
  • olfaction
  • sensory integration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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