The Organization of Projections from Olfactory Glomeruli onto Higher-Order Neurons

Published Date: 
June 8, 2018

Jeanne JM, Fi┼ček M, Wilson RI

Each odorant receptor corresponds to a unique glomerulus in the brain. Projections from different glomeruli then converge in higher brain regions, but we do not understand the logic governing which glomeruli converge and which do not. Here, we use two-photon optogenetics to map glomerular connections onto neurons in the lateral horn, the region of the Drosophila brain that receives the majority of olfactory projections. We identify 39 morphological types of lateral horn neurons (LHNs) and show that different types receive input from different combinations of glomeruli. We find that different LHN types do not have independent inputs; rather, certain combinations of glomeruli converge onto many of the same LHNs and so are over-represented. Notably, many over-represented combinations are composed of glomeruli that prefer chemically dissimilar ligands whose co-occurrence indicates a behaviorally relevant "odor scene." The pattern of glomerulus-LHN connections thus represents a prediction of what ligand combinations will be most salient.