Electrophysiological response patterns of 16 olfactory neurons from the trichoid sensilla to odorant from fecal volatiles in the locust, locusta migratoria manilensis

Xiaojie Cui, Caihong Wu, Long Zhang
Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology 2011, 77 (2): 45-57
Locusts are the most serious pests of crops in greater part of the world. They locate their host plants primarily through olfactory cues, using antennal chemosensilla, which house olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs). Despite the great economical interest of these species, their olfactory neurons have been poorly investigated at the functional level. In this study, we have used single sensillum recordings (SSRs) to obtain response patterns of ORNs from the antennal trichoid sensilla to various chemicals in the oriental locust Locusta migratoria. On the basis of their spontaneous spike amplitudes, trichoid sensilla could be distinguished into two types, housing two or three ORNs, respectively. These two structural types could be further classified into seven functional subtypes. Nine different odorants that are present in the locust feces were used as stimulants during SSRs. In particular, benzaldehyde elicited inhibitory responses in most of the ORNs tested. Moreover, in a majority of these ORNs, the excitatory responses obtained with trans-2-hexenal or 2-heptanone was inhibited when benzaldehyde was mixed with these stimulants. At least 16 response patterns of these ORNs to nine chemicals were identified by SSRs, suggesting a high complexity of the cellular mechanisms underlying chemoreception in locusts.

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