Acta Entomologica Sinica ›› 2020, Vol. 63 ›› Issue (12): 1536-1545.doi: 10.16380/j.kcxb.2020.12.012

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Research progress of integrated coding of peripheral olfactory signals in the central nervous system of insects

LIU Wei, WANG Gui-Rong*   

  • Online:2020-12-20 Published:2021-01-14

Abstract: A sensitive and complex sense of smell is essential for the survival and reproduction of insects. Antennae are the main olfactory organs of insects and covered with a large number of different kinds of olfactory sensilla on their surface. Volatile chemicals in the environment are detected by these sensilla and subsequently transformed into electrical signals. Those signals are then transmitted through olfactory receptor neurons to the primary olfactory center of the brain, the antennal lobe, for the early processing. After processing, the signals are sent to the lateral horn which is thought to mediate innate behaviors as well as the mushroom body which is required for memory storage and retrieval. In this article, we reviewed the research progress of integrated coding of insect olfactory central system for signals from the peripheral olfactory system with focus on the Drosophila model and lepidopterans. Significant progress has been made in Drosophila melanogaster due to its advantages in genetic manipulation technology, including the propagation of information within the primary olfactory center and the subsequent processing in higher olfactory centers. Compared to Drosophila, the studies on olfactory coding of the central nervous system of other insects make tardy progress and are limited to recording and identification of the neurons in the antennal lobe of lepidopterans because of lacking genetic manipulation technology. The following aspects are suggested to be investigated in the future: (1) Olfactory coding in the lateral horn should be thoroughly investigated in the Drosophila model to further explain the neurological mechanism of olfactory behaviors; (2) Genetic tools should be developed and combined with two-photon imaging in none-model insects to elucidate the mechanism of perception, interaction, and behavioral consequence of the critical odorants.

Key words: Insects, olfactory neurons, olfactory coding, peripheral olfactory nervous system, central olfactory nervous system