ABSTRACT: An emerging idea in olfaction is that temporal coding of odor specificity can be intrinsic to the primary olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs). As a first step towards understanding whether lobster ORNs are capable of generating odor-specific temporal activity and what mechanisms underlie any such heterogeneity in discharge pattern, we characterized different patterns of activity in lobster ORNs individually and ensemble using patch-clamp recording and calcium imaging. We demonstrate that lobster ORNs show tonic excitation, tonic inhibition, phaso-tonic excitation, and bursting, and that these patterns are faithfully reflected in the calcium signal. We then demonstrate that the various dynamic patterns of response are inherent in the cells, and that this inherent heterogeneity is largely determined by heterogeneity in the underlying intrinsic conductances.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(4):e34843. · 4.09 Impact Factor