Ca2+ stabilizes the membrane potential of moth olfactory receptor neurons at rest and is essential for their fast repolarization.
ABSTRACT The role of Ca(2+) in insect olfactory transduction was studied in the moth Spodoptera littoralis. Single sensillum recordings were made to investigate in vivo the role of sensillar Ca(2+) on the electrophysiological properties of sex pheromone responsive olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs). Lowering the sensillar Ca(2+) concentration to 2 x 10(-8) M increased ORN spontaneous firing activity and induced long bursts of action potentials (APs) superimposed on spontaneous negative deflections of the transepithelial potential. We inferred that Ca(2+) stabilizes the membrane potential of ORNs, keeping the spontaneous firing activity at a low and regular level. Neither the amplitude and kinetics of the rising phase of sensillar potentials (SPs) recorded in response to pheromone stimuli nor the AP generation during stimulation depended on the extracellular Ca(2+) concentration. Thus, extracellular Ca(2+) is not absolutely necessary for ORN response. Partial inhibition of responses with a calmodulin antagonist, W-7, also indicates that intracellular Ca(2+) contributes to the ORN response and suggests that Ca(2+) release from internal stores is involved. In 2 x 10(-8) M Ca(2+), the repolarization of the SP was delayed when compared with higher Ca(2+) concentrations. Therefore, in contrast to depolarization, ORN repolarization depends on extracellular Ca(2+). Ca(2+)-gated K(+) channels identified from cultured ORNs with whole-cell recordings are good candidates to mediate ORN repolarization.
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ABSTRACT: Many animals rely on chemical cues to recognize and locate a resource, and they must extract the relevant information from a complex and changing odor environment. For example, in moths, finding a mate is mediated by a sex pheromone, which is detected in a rich environment of volatile plant compounds. Here, we investigated the effects of a volatile plant background on the walking response of male Spodoptera littoralis to the female pheromone. Males were stimulated by combining pheromone with one of three plant compounds, and their walking paths were recorded with a locomotion compensator and analyzed. We found that the addition of certain volatile plant compounds disturbed the orientation toward the sex pheromone. The effect on locomotion was correlated with the capacity of the plant compound to antagonize pheromone detection by olfactory receptor neurons, suggesting a masking effect of the background over the pheromone signal. Moths were more sensitive to changes in background compared to a constant background, suggesting that a background odor also acts as a distracting stimulus. Our experiments show that the effects of odorant background on insect responses to chemical signals are complex and cannot be explained by a single mechanism.PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(1):e52897. · 4.09 Impact Factor
Dataset: Durand et al PLoS One 2010
Article: Dynamical modeling of the moth pheromone-sensitive olfactory receptor neuron within its sensillar environment.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: In insects, olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs), surrounded with auxiliary cells and protected by a cuticular wall, form small discrete sensory organs--the sensilla. The moth pheromone-sensitive sensillum is a well studied example of hair-like sensillum that is favorable to both experimental and modeling investigations. The model presented takes into account both the molecular processes of ORNs, i.e. the biochemical reactions and ionic currents giving rise to the receptor potential, and the cellular organization and compartmentalization of the organ represented by an electrical circuit. The number of isopotential compartments needed to describe the long dendrite bearing pheromone receptors was determined. The transduction parameters that must be modified when the number of compartments is increased were identified. This model reproduces the amplitude and time course of the experimentally recorded receptor potential. A first complete version of the model was analyzed in response to pheromone pulses of various strengths. It provided a quantitative description of the spatial and temporal evolution of the pheromone-dependent conductances, currents and potentials along the outer dendrite and served to determine the contribution of the various steps in the cascade to its global sensitivity. A second simplified version of the model, utilizing a single depolarizing conductance and leak conductances for repolarizing the ORN, was derived from the first version. It served to analyze the effects on the sensory properties of varying the electrical parameters and the size of the main sensillum parts. The consequences of the results obtained on the still uncertain mechanisms of olfactory transduction in moth ORNs--involvement or not of G-proteins, role of chloride and potassium currents--are discussed as well as the optimality of the sensillum organization, the dependence of biochemical parameters on the neuron spatial extension and the respective contributions of the biochemical and electrical parameters to the overall neuron response.PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(3):e17422. · 4.09 Impact Factor