116 | Neural representation and perception of conflicting olfactory information

Cognition, Behavior, and Memory

Author: Martín Klappenbach | Email: martinklappenbach@hotmail.com

Martín Klappenbach , Fernando Locatelli

1° Laboratorio de Fisiología Sensorial, IFIBYNE-CONICET, FCEN-UBA

In nature, animals must be able to respond to situations that combine aversive and appetitive information. Furthermore, the stimuli predicting negative or positive consequences may change depending on experience or can be innate. In this study, we investigated how honey bees process and respond to conflicting information contained in complex odor stimuli. To do this, we trained honey bees to associate an odor with an appetitive reward. Subsequently, we tested the bees using a mixture that contained the learned odor along with a neutral one. In this case, honey bees responded positively, demonstrating their ability to detect the presence of the learned odor even within a novel mixture. However, when bees were tested with a mixture combining the appetitive learned odor with a negative pheromonal odor, the appetitive response was inhibited. This result prompted us to investigate whether this suppression occurs at the level of the first center of odor processing, the antennal lobe (AL). By using calcium imaging to study how mixtures and components are encoded in the AL, we identified that plasticity at this early stage of odor processing enables animals to respond accordingly to the hierarchical status of the odor. Our study sheds light on the underlying mechanisms of odor perception and provides a better understanding of how behavior emerges in complex situations.