Re-Classification of Drosophila melanogaster Trichoid and Intermediate Sensilla Using Fluorescence-Guided Single Sensillum Recording.
ABSTRACT: Drosophila olfactory receptor neurons are found within specialized sensory hairs on antenna and maxillary palps. The linking of odorant-induced responses to olfactory neuron activities is often accomplished via Single Sensillum Recordings (SSR), in which an electrode inserted into a single sensory hair records the neuronal activities of all the neurons housed in that sensillum. The identification of the recorded sensillum requires matching the neuronal responses with known odor-response profiles. To record from specific sensilla, or to systematically screen all sensillar types, requires repetitive and semi-random SSR experiments. Here, we validate an approach in which the GAL4/UAS binary expression system is used for targeting specific sensilla for recordings. We take advantage of available OrX-Gal4 lines, in combination with recently generated strong membrane targeted GFP reporters, to guide electrophysiological recordings to GFP-labeled sensilla. We validate a full set of reagents that can be used to rapidly screen the odor-response profiles of all basiconic, intermediate, and trichoid sensilla. Fluorescence-guided SSR further revealed that two antennal trichoid sensilla types should be re-classified as intermediate sensilla. This approach provides a simple and practical addition to a proven method for investigating olfactory neurons, and can be extended by the addition of UAS-geneX effectors for gain-of-function or loss-of-function studies.
Project description:In order to find a blood host and to select appropriate oviposition sites female Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes rely on olfactory cues which are sensed by olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) located within morphologically different sensilla hairs. While the sharp type trichoid sensilla are most abundant and intensely studied, the striking blunt type trichoid sensilla exist only in small numbers and their specific function is unknown. It has been suggested that they may play a role in the detection of chemical cues indicating oviposition sites. With the aim of identifying molecular elements in blunt type trichoid sensilla, which may be relevant for chemosensory function of this sensillum type, experiments were performed which include whole mount fluorescence in situ hybridization (WM-FISH) and fluorescence immunohistochemistry (WM-FIHC). The studies were concentrated on odorant binding proteins (AgOBPs) and odorant receptors (AgORs). WM-FISH approaches using a probe for the plus-C class AgOBP47 led to the labeling of cells, which resembled in number and antennal distribution pattern the blunt type trichoid sensilla. Moreover, WM-FIHC with an antiserum for AgOBP47 allowed to assign the AgOBP47-expressing cells to blunt type trichoid sensilla and to allocate the protein within the sensillum hair shafts. The result of double WM-FISH-experiments and combined WM-FIHC/FISH approaches indicated that the AgOBP47-expressing cells are co-localized with cells, which express AgOR11, AgOR13 and AgOR55. In addition, it turned out that the two receptor types AgOR13 and AgOR55 are co-expressed in the same cells. Together, the results indicate that the blunt type trichoid sensilla contain a characteristic binding protein, plus-C AgOBP47, in the sensillum lymph and two sensory neurons, one cell which express the odorant receptor AgOR11 and a second cell which express the receptor types AgOR13 and AgOR55. The expression of characteristic chemosensory elements in blunt type trichoid sensilla supports the notion that this sensillum type is involved in sensing distinct odorous compounds.
Project description:Insect olfactory sensilla house olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) and supports cells (SCs). The olfactory sensory processes require, besides the odorant receptors (ORs), insect-specific members of the CD36 family, named sensory neuron membrane proteins (SNMPs). While SNMP1 is considered to act as a coreceptor in the OR-mediated detection of pheromones, SNMP2 was found to be expressed in SCs; however, its function is unknown. For the desert locust, <i>Schistocerca gregaria,</i> we previously visualized mRNA for SNMP1 in OSNs and SNMP2 mRNA in cells associated with OSN clusters. Towards an understanding of their functional implication, it is imperative to explore the cellular and the subcellular localization the SNMP proteins. Therefore, we have generated polyclonal antibodies against SNMP1 and SNMP2 and used fluorescence immunohistochemistry (FIHC) to visualize the SNMP proteins. We found SNMP1 in the somata and respective dendrites of all OSNs in trichoid sensilla and in subsets of OSNs in basiconic sensilla. Notably, SNMP1 was also detected in SCs of these sensilla types. In contrast, SNMP2 protein was only visualized in SCs of basiconic and coeloconic sensilla, but not of trichoid sensilla. Exploring the subcellular localization by electron microscopy using anti-SNMP1-ab and anti-SNMP2-ab revealed an immunogold labelling of SC microvilli bordering the sensillum lymph. Together our findings suggest a dual role of SNMP1 in the antenna of <i>S. gregaria</i>, in some OSN subpopulations in odor detection as well as in functions of some SCs, whereas the role of SNMP2 is limited to the functions of support cells.
Project description:In insects, pheromones function as triggers to elicit complex behavior programs, such as courtship and mating behavior. In most species, the neurons tuned to pheromones are localized in a specific subset of olfactory sensilla located on the antenna called trichoid sensilla. In Drosophila there are two classes of trichoid sensilla, at1 sensilla that contain the dendrites of a single neuron that is specifically tuned to the male-specific pheromone 11-cis vaccenyl acetate (cVA), and at4 sensilla that contain three neurons with relatively poorly defined chemical specificity and function. Using a combination of odorant receptor mutant analysis, single sensillum electrophysiology and optogenetics, we have examined the chemical tuning and behavioral consequences of the three at4 olfactory neuron classes. Our results indicate that one class, Or65abc neurons, are unresponsive to cVA pheromone, and function to inhibit courtship behaviors in response to an unknown ligand, while the other two neuron classes, Or88a and Or47b neurons, are sensitive to a diverse array of fly and non-fly odors, and activation of these neurons has little direct impact on courtship behaviors.
Project description:Remarkably little is known about the molecular and cellular basis of mate recognition in Drosophila. We systematically examined the trichoid sensilla, one of the three major types of sensilla that house olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) on the Drosophila antenna, by electrophysiological analysis. We find that none respond strongly to food odors but that all respond to fly odors. Two subtypes of trichoid sensilla contain ORNs that respond to cis-vaccenyl acetate (cVA), an anti-aphrodisiac pheromone transferred from males to females during mating [2-4]. All trichoid sensilla yield responses to a male extract; a subset yield responses to a virgin-female extract as well. Thus, males can be distinguished from virgin females by the activity they elicit among the trichoid ORN population. We then systematically tested all members of the Odor receptor (Or) gene family [5-7] that are expressed in trichoid sensilla  by using an in vivo expression system . Four receptors respond to fly odors in this system: Two respond to extracts of both males and virgin females, and two respond to cVA. We propose a model describing how these receptors might be used by a male to distinguish suitable from unsuitable mating partners through a simple logic.
Project description:Male moths efficiently recognize conspecific sex pheromones thanks to their highly accurate and specific olfactory system. The Heliothis/Helicoverpa species are regarded as good models for studying the perception of sex pheromones. In this study, we performed a series of experiments to investigate the peripheral mechanisms of pheromone coding in two-closely related species, Helicoverpa armigera and H. assulta. The morphology and distribution patterns of sensilla trichoidea are similar between the two species when observed at the scanning electron microscope, but their performances are different. In H. armigera, three functional types of sensilla trichoidea (A, B and C) were found to respond to different pheromone components, while in H. assulta only two types of such sensilla (A and C) could be detected. The response profiles of all types of sensilla trichoidea in the two species well matched the specificities of the pheromone receptors (PRs) expressed in the same sensilla, as measured in voltage-clamp experiments. The expressions of PRs in neighboring olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) within the same trichoid sensillum were further confirmed by in situ hybridization. Our results show how the same pheromone components can code for different messages at the periphery of two Helicoverpa species.
Project description:In comparison to the large amount of study on the communication abilities of females in ant societies and their associated chemical ecology and sensory physiology, such study of male ants has been largely ignored; accordingly, little is known about their olfactory sensory capabilities. To address this, we explored peripheral odor sensitivities in male Harpegnathos saltator by measuring the electrophysiological activity of olfactory sensory neurons within antennal trichoid and coeloconic sensilla using an extracellular recording technique. In an initial trial of 46 compounds, sensilla trichodea responded strongly to two alarm pheromone components, while a limited number of non-hydrocarbon odorants elicited strong responses in sensilla coeloconica. Both sensillar types responded indifferently to 31 cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) and synthetic long-chain hydrocarbons (HCs) typically found on insect cuticle. In a search for sensilla responding to CHCs and other compounds, we found some sensilla that responded to synthetic HCs and CHCs from virgin queen postpharyngeal glands that are potentially used in close range mate recognition. Olfactometer bioassays of male ants to 15 non-HCs correlated sensory responsiveness to the respective behavioral responses. Comparing olfactory responses between H. saltator males and females, we found that sensilla coeloconica and basiconica of workers showed greater responses and broader selectivity to all compounds. The rarity of CHC-responding trichoid sensilla in Harpegnathos males suggests a more specific role in sexual communication compared to that in females, which use CHCs in a broader communication context.
Project description:The molecular mechanisms mediating chemosensory discrimination in insects are unknown. Using the enhancer trapping approach, we identified a new Drosophila mutant, lush, with odorant-specific defects in olfactory behavior. lush mutant flies are abnormally attracted to high concentrations of ethanol, propanol, and butanol but have normal chemosensory responses to other odorants. We show that wild-type flies have an active olfactory avoidance mechanism to prevent attraction to concentrated alcohol, and this response is defective in lush mutants. This suggests that the defective olfactory behavior associated with the lush mutation may result from a specific defect in chemoavoidance. lush mutants have a 3-kb deletion that produces a null allele of a new member of the invertebrate odorant-binding protein family, LUSH. LUSH is normally expressed exclusively in a subset of trichoid chemosensory sensilla located on the ventral-lateral surface of the third antennal segment. LUSH is secreted from nonneuronal support cells into the sensillum lymph that bathes the olfactory neurons within these sensilla. Reintroduction of a cloned wild-type copy of lush into the mutant background completely restores wild-type olfactory behavior, demonstrating that this odorant-binding protein is required in a subset of sensilla for normal chemosensory behavior to a subset of odorants. These findings provide direct evidence that odorant-binding proteins are required for normal chemosensory behavior in Drosophila and may partially determine the chemical specificity of olfactory neurons in vivo.
Project description:Water perception is important for insects, because they are particularly vulnerable to water loss because their body size is small. In Drosophila, gustatory receptor neurons are located at the base of the taste sensilla on the labellum, tarsi, and wing margins. One of the gustatory receptor neurons in typical sensilla is known to respond to water. To reveal the neural mechanisms of water perception in Drosophila, it is necessary to identify water receptor neurons and their projection patterns. We used a Gal4 enhancer trap strain in which GAL4 is expressed in a single gustatory receptor neuron in each sensillum on the labellum. We investigated the function of these neurons by expressing the upstream activating sequence transgenes, shibire(ts1), tetanus toxin light chain, or diphtheria toxin A chain. Results from the proboscis extension reflex test and electrophysiological recordings indicated that the GAL4-expressing neurons respond to water. We show here that the water receptor neurons project to a specific region in the subesophageal ganglion, thus revealing the water taste sensory map in Drosophila.
Project description:The olfactory response of the vinegar fly Drosophila melanogaster to food odor is modulated by starvation. Here we show that this modulation is not restricted to food odors and their detecting sensory neurons but rather increases the behavioral response to odors as different as food odors, repellents and pheromones. The increased behavioral responsiveness is paralleled by an increased physiological sensitivity of sensory neurons regardless whether they express olfactory or ionotropic receptors and regardless whether they are housed in basiconic, coeloconic, or trichoid sensilla. Silencing several genes that become up-regulated under starvation confirmed the involvement of the short neuropeptide f receptor in the starvation effect. In addition it revealed that the CCHamide-1 receptor is another important factor governing starvation-induced olfactory modifications.
Project description:Odorant binding proteins (Obps) are expressed at extremely high levels in the antennae of insects, and have long been believed essential for carrying hydrophobic odorants to odor receptors. Previously we found that when one functional type of olfactory sensillum in Drosophila was depleted of its sole abundant Obp, it retained a robust olfactory response (Larter et al., 2016). Here we have deleted all the Obp genes that are abundantly expressed in the antennal basiconic sensilla. All of six tested sensillum types responded robustly to odors of widely diverse chemical or temporal structure. One mutant gave a greater physiological and behavioral response to an odorant that affects oviposition. Our results support a model in which many sensilla can respond to odorants in the absence of Obps, and many Obps are not essential for olfactory response, but that some Obps can modulate olfactory physiology and the behavior that it drives.