Enantioselectivity of Projection Neurons Innervating Identified Olfactory Glomeruli

Carolina E. Reisenman, Thomas A. Christensen, Wittko Francke, John G. Hildebrand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Projection neurons (PNs) with arborizations in the sexually dimorphic "lateral large female glomerulus" (latLFG) in the antennal lobe (AL) of the moth Manduca sexta previously were shown to respond preferentially to antennal stimulation with (±)linalool, a volatile compound commonly emitted by plants. In the present study, using intracellular recording and staining techniques, we examined the responsiveness of latLFG-PNs to the enantiomers, (+)linalool and (-)linalool and found that (1) latLFG-PNs are more responsive to antennal stimulation with (+)linalool than with (-)linalool, (2) PNs with arborizations in a glomerulus adjacent to the latLFG are preferentially responsive to (-)linalool, and (3) PNs with arborizations confined to other glomeruli near the latLFG are equally responsive to both enantiomers of linalool. Structure-activity studies showed that the hydroxyl group in this tertiary terpene alcohol is the key feature of the molecule determining the response of enantioselective PNs to linalool. In contrast, the responses of non-enantioselective PNs are less dependent on the alcoholic functionality of linalool. Our findings show that PNs innervating a uniquely identifiable glomerulus respond preferentially to a particular enantiomer of an odor substance. Moreover, PNs with arborizations in a glomerulus adjacent to the latLFG, although less sensitive than latLFG-PNs to linalool, respond preferentially to the opposite enantiomer, demonstrating that information about stimulus-absolute configuration can be encoded in different olfactory glomeruli.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2602-2611
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 17 2004


  • Electrophysiology
  • Enantiomers
  • Glomerulus
  • Insect
  • Intracellular recording
  • Odor coding
  • Olfaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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