The wiring diagram of a glomerular olfactory system

Matthew E. Berck, Avinash Khandelwal, Lindsey Claus, Luis Hernandez-Nunez, Guangwei Si, Christopher J. Tabone, Feng Li, James W. Truman, Rick D. Fetter, Matthieu Louis*, Aravinthan D.T. Samuel, Albert Cardona

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The sense of smell enables animals to react to long-distance cues according to learned and innate valences. Here, we have mapped with electron microscopy the complete wiring diagram of the Drosophila larval antennal lobe, an olfactory neuropil similar to the vertebrate olfactory bulb. We found a canonical circuit with uniglomerular projection neurons (uPNs) relaying gain-controlled ORN activity to the mushroom body and the lateral horn. A second, parallel circuit with multiglomerular projection neurons (mPNs) and hierarchically connected local neurons (LNs) selectively integrates multiple ORN signals already at the first synapse. LN-LN synaptic connections putatively implement a bistable gain control mechanism that either computes odor saliency through panglomerular inhibition, or allows some glomeruli to respond to faint aversive odors in the presence of strong appetitive odors. This complete wiring diagram will support experimental and theoretical studies towards bridging the gap between circuits and behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14859
Issue numberMAY2016
StatePublished - 13 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


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