Nitric oxide affects short-term olfactory memory in the antennal lobe of manduca sexta

Stephanie L. Gage, Kevin C. Daly, Alan Nighorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Nitric oxide (NO) is thought to play an important neuromodulatory role in olfaction. We are using the hawkmoth Manduca sexta to investigate the function of NO signaling in the antennal lobe (AL; the primary olfactory network in invertebrates). We have found previously that NO is present at baseline levels, dramatically increases in response to odor stimulation, and alters the electrophysiology of AL neurons. It is unclear, however, how these effects contribute to common features of olfactory systems such as olfactory learning and memory, odor detection and odor discrimination. In this study, we used chemical detection and a behavioral approach to further examine the function of NO in the AL. We found that basal levels of NO fluctuate with the daily light cycle, being higher during the nocturnal active period. NO also appears to be necessary for short-term olfactory memory. NO does not appear to affect odor detection, odor discrimination between dissimilar odorants, or learning acquisition. These findings suggest a modulatory role for NO in the timing of olfactory-guided behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3294-3300
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • Circadian
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Moth
  • NOS inhibition
  • Olfaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


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