Wiring specificity in the olfactory system

Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2006 Feb;17(1):50-65. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2005.12.002. Epub 2006 Jan 24.


The fruitfly brain learns about the olfactory world by reading the activity of about 50 distinct channels of incoming information. The receptor neurons that compose each channel have their own distinctive odour response profile governed by a specific receptor molecule. These receptor neurons form highly specific connections in the first olfactory relay of the fly brain, each synapsing with specific second order partner neurons. We use this system to discuss the logic of wiring specificity in the brain and to review the cellular and molecular mechanisms that allow such precise wiring to develop.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila melanogaster* / anatomy & histology
  • Drosophila melanogaster* / physiology
  • Nerve Net
  • Neurons* / cytology
  • Neurons* / physiology
  • Olfactory Pathways* / anatomy & histology
  • Olfactory Pathways* / physiology
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / cytology
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / physiology
  • Receptors, Odorant / metabolism
  • Synapses / metabolism
  • Synapses / ultrastructure


  • Receptors, Odorant