Correlation between dendrite diameter and action potential amplitude in sex pheromone specific receptor neurons in male Ostrinia nubilalis (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae)

Tissue Cell. 1994 Aug;26(4):503-12. doi: 10.1016/0040-8166(94)90003-5.


Outer dendritic segments of olfactory receptor neurons tuned to sex pheromone components were measured morphometrically on the antenna of male European corn borers. Ostrinia nubilalis, to determine if a correlation exists between the diameter of the outer dendritic segment and the spike amplitude. The olfactory sensilla investigated each contained three receptor cells. Two cells were each specific for one of the two pheromone components, (Z)-11-tetradecenyl acetate (Z11-14:OAc) and (E)-11-tetradecenyl acetate (E11-14:OAc). Two strains of cornborers (Z and E) differ as to which of the two pheromone components is the main one. In both strains a large difference could be observed between the spike amplitudes elicited in the receptor cells by the two pheromone components, the main component always eliciting the large spike. In F1-hybrids (EZ) of these two strains, producing both pheromone components in similar quantities, the spike amplitudes were equal in the two pheromone-specific receptor cells. The third cell responded specifically to a behavioural antagonist. (Z)-9-tetradecenyl acetate (Z9-14:OAc) in both the parental and hybrid strains, and always showed the smallest spike amplitude. In a morphometric study, the outer dendritic segments were shown to differ more in diameter between the largest and second largest cell in the two parental strains than in the hybrid strain, while the smallest diameter cell did not differ between the different strains. These results imply that receptor cells with larger diameter produce spikes with greater amplitude. The data also show that all three types of receptor neurons display outer dendritic segments with strong variation in the diameter along the length of the segment, and with a pronounced taper towards the tip.