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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2013

Neural coding merges sex and habitat chemosensory signals in an insect herbivore

Trona, Federica; Anfora, Gianfranco; Balkenius, Anna; Bengtsson, Marie; Tasin, Marco; Knight, Alan; Janz, Niklas; Witzgall, Peter; Ignell, Rickard

Abstract

Understanding the processing of odour mixtures is a focus in olfaction research. Through a neuroethological approach, we demonstrate that different odour types, sex and habitat cues are coded together in an insect herbivore. Stronger flight attraction of codling moth males, Cydia pomonella, to blends of female sex pheromone and plant odour, compared with single compounds, was corroborated by functional imaging of the olfactory centres in the insect brain, the antennal lobes (ALs). The macroglomerular complex (MGC) in the AL, which is dedicated to pheromone perception, showed an enhanced response to blends of pheromone and plant signals, whereas the response in glomeruli surrounding the MGC was suppressed. Intracellular recordings from AL projection neurons that transmit odour information to higher brain centres, confirmed this synergistic interaction in the MGC. These findings underscore that, in nature, sex pheromone and plant odours are perceived as an ensemble. That mating and habitat cues are coded as blends in the MGC of the AL highlights the dual role of plant signals in habitat selection and in premating sexual communication. It suggests that the MGC is a common target for sexual and natural selection in moths, facilitating ecological speciation.

Keywords

chemical communication; reproductive isolation; magic trait; intracellular recordings; functional imaging; Cydia pomonella

Published in

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
2013, volume: 280, number: 1760, article number: 20130267
Publisher: ROYAL SOC

Authors' information

Trona, Federica
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Protection Biology
Trona, Federica
Edmund Mach Foundation
Anfora, Gianfranco
Balkenius, Anna
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Protection Biology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Protection Biology
Tasin, Marco
Knight, Alan
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Janz, Niklas
Stockholm University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Protection Biology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Protection Biology

UKÄ Subject classification

Zoology
Structural Biology
Evolutionary Biology
Ecology
Behavioral Sciences Biology

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2013.0267

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/56179