The mushroom body is an insect brain structure required for olfactory learning. Its principal neurons, the Kenyon cells (KCs), form a large cell population. The neuronal populations from which their olfactory input derives (olfactory sensory and projection neurons) can be identified individually by genetic, anatomical, and physiological criteria. We ask whether KCs are similarly identifiable individually, using genetic markers and whole-cell patch-clamp in vivo. We find that across-animal responses are as diverse within the genetically labeled subset as across all KCs in a larger sample. These results combined with those from a simple model, using projection neuron odor responses as inputs, suggest that the precise circuit specification seen at earlier stages of odor processing is likely absent among the mushroom body KCs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes