Honey bees readily associate an odor with sucrose reinforcement, and the response generalizes to other odors as a function of structural similarity to the conditioned odor. Recent studies have shown that a portion of odor memory is consolidated in the antennal lobes (AL), where first-order synaptic processing of sensory information takes place. The AL and/or the sensory afferents that project into them show staining patterns for the enzyme nitric oxide synthase, which catalyzes the release of the gaseous transmitter nitric oxide (NO). The results show that pharmacological blockade of NO release impairs olfactory discrimination only when release is blocked before conditioning. Blockade of GABAergic transmission disrupts discrimination of similar but not dissimilar odorants, and does so when the block occurs before condition or before testing. These results show that GABA and NO regulate the specificity of associative olfactory memory in the AL.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Behavioral Neuroscience