Hebbian STDP in mushroom bodies facilitates the synchronous flow of olfactory information in locusts

Nature. 2007 Aug 9;448(7154):709-13. doi: 10.1038/nature05973. Epub 2007 Jun 20.


Odour representations in insects undergo progressive transformations and decorrelation from the receptor array to the presumed site of odour learning, the mushroom body. There, odours are represented by sparse assemblies of Kenyon cells in a large population. Using intracellular recordings in vivo, we examined transmission and plasticity at the synapse made by Kenyon cells onto downstream targets in locusts. We find that these individual synapses are excitatory and undergo hebbian spike-timing dependent plasticity (STDP) on a +/-25 ms timescale. When placed in the context of odour-evoked Kenyon cell activity (a 20-Hz oscillatory population discharge), this form of STDP enhances the synchronization of the Kenyon cells' targets and thus helps preserve the propagation of the odour-specific codes through the olfactory system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Grasshoppers / cytology
  • Grasshoppers / physiology*
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Mushroom Bodies / cytology
  • Mushroom Bodies / metabolism*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Odorants / analysis
  • Smell / physiology*
  • Synapses / metabolism
  • Synaptic Transmission
  • Time Factors