Olfactory receptor cells in insects are modulated by neurohormones. Recordings from cockroach olfactory sensilla showed that a subset of sensory neurons increase their responses to selected nonpheromone odorants after octopamine application. With octopamine application, recordings demonstrated increased firing rates by the short but not the long alcohol-sensitive sensilla to the nonpheromone volatile, hexan-1-ol. Within the same sensillum, individual receptor cells are shown to be modulated independently from each other, indicating that the octopamine receptors reside in the receptor not in the accessory cells. A uniform decrease in the amplitude of electroantennogram, which is odorant independent, is suggested to reflect the rise in octopamine concentration in the antennal hemolymph. Perception of general odorants measured as behavioral responses changed qualitatively under octopamine treatment: namely, repulsive hexan-1-ol became neutral, whereas neutral eucalyptol became attractive. Octopamine induced a change in male behavioral responses to general odors that were essentially the same as in the state of sexual arousal. Our findings suggest that sensitivity to odors having different biological significances is modulated selectively at the peripheral as well as other levels of olfactory processing.
Keywords: insect; octopamine; odorant selectivity; olfaction
Journal Article. 5302 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Molecular and Cell Biology
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