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Responses in highly selective sensory neurons to blends of pheromone components in the moth Agrotis segetum

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Carlsson, M., & Hansson, B. (2002). Responses in highly selective sensory neurons to blends of pheromone components in the moth Agrotis segetum. Journal of Insect Physiology, 48(4), 443-451. doi:10.1016/S0022-1910(02)00065-3.

Pheromone detecting sensory neurons in moths are known to be highly sensitive and selective. Female-emitted sexual pheromones are normally mixtures of a few to several components. However, not much is known about how receptor neurons respond to blends of compounds. In the present study we investigated how four physiological types of pheromone component-selective neurons responded to binary mixtures or to the complete blend in the turnip moth Agrotis segetum. We found that responses to mixtures only rarely differed from that to the excitatory component alone. The mixture interactions were exclusively suppressive and occurred only at high concentrations. Therefore we conclude that the, in A. segetum, commonly observed mixture interactions observed in higher brain centra are mainly the result of central nervous processing and that information about the pheromone components reaches the antennal lobes virtually unaltered. In addition, we found a physiological type of receptor neuron, responding selectively to one of the female-emitted pheromone components, that has previously not been observed in the Swedish population. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.