Inhibitory neurons play critical roles in regulating and shaping olfactory responses in vertebrates and invertebrates. In insects, these roles are performed by relatively few neurons, which can be interrogated efficiently, revealing fundamental principles of olfactory coding. Here, with electrophysiological recordings from the locust and a large-scale biophysical model, we analyzed the properties and functions of GGN, a unique giant GABAergic neuron that plays a central role in structuring olfactory codes in the locust mushroom body. Our simulations suggest that depolarizing GGN at its input branch can globally inhibit KCs several hundred microns away. Our in vivorecordings show that GGN responds to odors with complex temporal patterns of depolarization and hyperpolarization that can vary with odors and across animals, leading our model to predict the existence of a yet-undiscovered olfactory pathway. Our analysis reveals basic new features of GGN and the olfactory network surrounding it.
Keywords: GGN; computational model; locust; mushroom body; neuroscience; olfactory system; schistocerca americana.