Inhibitory interactions shape the activity of output neurons in primary olfactory centers and promote contrast enhancement of odor representations. Patterns of interglomerular connectivity, however, are largely unknown. To test whether the proximity of glomeruli to one another is correlated with interglomerular inhibitory interactions, we used intracellular recording and staining methods to record the responses of projection (output) neurons (PNs) associated with glomeruli of known olfactory tuning in the primary olfactory center of the moth Manduca sexta. We focused on Toroid I, a glomerulus in the male-specific macroglomerular complex (MGC) specialized to one of the two key components of the conspecific females' sex pheromone, and the adjacent, sexually isomorphic glomerulus 35, which is highly sensitive to Z-3-hexenyl acetate (Z3-6:OAc). We used the two odorants to activate these reference glomeruli and tested the effects of olfactory activation in other glomeruli. We found that Toroid-I PNs were not inhibited by input to G35, whereas G35 PNs were inhibited by input to Toroid-I PNs. We also recorded the responses of PNs arborizing in other sexually isomorphic glomeruli to stimulation with the sex pheromone and Z3-6:OAc. We found that inhibitory responses were not related to proximity to the MGC and G35: both distant and adjacent PNs were inhibited by stimulation with the sex pheromone, some others were affected by only one odorant, and yet others by neither. Similar results were obtained in female PNs recorded in proximity to female-specific glomeruli. Our findings indicate that inhibitory interactions among glomeruli are widespread and independent of their spatial proximity.
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