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Data-driven honeybee antennal lobe model demonstrates how stimulus-onset asynchrony can aid odor segregation
BMC Neuroscience volume 14, Article number: P378 (2013)
Insects have a remarkable ability to identify and track odor sources in multi-odor backgrounds. Recent behavioral experiments show that this ability relies on detecting millisecond stimulus asynchronies between odors that originate from different sources . Honeybees, Apis mellifera, are able to distinguish mixtures where both odors arrive at the same time (synchronous mixtures) from those where odor onsets are staggered (asynchronous mixtures). Surprisingly, this ability persists down to an onset delay of only 6 ms.
On this poster we explore this surprising ability in a model of the honeybee antennal lobe. We hypothesize that a winner-take-all inhibitory network (see Figure 1) of local neurons (LNs) in the antennal lobe has a symmetry-breaking effect, such that the response pattern in projection neurons (PNs) to an asynchronous mixture is different from the response pattern to the corresponding synchronous mixture for an extended period of time beyond the initial odor onset where the two mixture conditions actually differ. The prolonged difference between response patterns to synchronous and asynchronous mixtures could facilitate odor-background segregation in downstream circuits of the olfactory pathway.
We present a detailed data-driven model of the bee antennal lobe that reproduces a large data set of experimentally observed odor responses  and demonstrate with this model that our hypothesis is consistent with the current knowledge of the olfactory circuits in the bee brain.
Szyszka P, Stierle JS, Biergans S, Galizia CG: The speed of smell: odor-object segregation within milliseconds. PLoS One. 2012, 7: e36096-10.1371/journal.pone.0036096.
Ditzen M: Odor concentration and identity coding in the antennal lobe of the honeybee Apis mellifera. 2005, Ph.D. thesis. Freie Universität Berlin. Berlin
Galizia CG, McIlwrath SL, Menzel R: A digital 3D atlas of the honeybee antennal lobe based on optical sections acquired using confocal micoscropy. Cell Tissue Res. 1999, 295: 383-394. 10.1007/s004410051245.
This work was supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/J019690/1) to TN and the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (01GQ0931) to PS and CGG.
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Nowotny, T., Galizia, C.G. & Szyszka, P. Data-driven honeybee antennal lobe model demonstrates how stimulus-onset asynchrony can aid odor segregation. BMC Neurosci 14, P378 (2013) doi:10.1186/1471-2202-14-S1-P378
- Response Pattern
- Antennal Lobe
- Odor Source
- Onset Delay
- Initial Odor