Processing of Pheromone Information from Receptor Cells to Antennal Lobe Neurons in Heliothis Moths
The pheromone blends of insects consist of certain ratios of compounds where the geometrical and optical configurations play an important role. Pheromone compounds, primarily produced as intraspecific signals, may also influence neighbouring species. This effect across species is well developed in bark beetles, where interspecific interruption and synergism, as well as attraction of predators to prey odours have been demonstrated in field studies (Birch 1984). The chemoreception of pheromones and interspecific signals involved in these interactions have been studied by recordings from single receptor cells. The results have revealed that all investigated beetle-produced compounds are received by specialist types of receptor cells, i.e. cells tuned to one particular compound (Mustaparta 1984). This also applies to optical isomers (Mustaparta et al 1980). Furthermore, the receptors exhibit largely identical responses as regards stimulus threshold, maximum response levels, dynamic range and reaction to analogues; characteristics which are independent of taxonomical belonging, geographical distribution, and kind of message mediated by the compound (Mustaparta 1989). These observations have lead to the tentative conclusion that pheromone receptors to a great extent are conserved through evolution. Thus, the changes in the speciation process may preferably be concerned with the manner in which the CNS processes the information. Against this background, we have undertaken to compare in moth species of Heliothis the specificity of the olfactory receptor cells with that of the neurons projecting from the antennal lobe (Christensen et al 1989; Almaas and Mustaparta 1989 a,b).
KeywordsBark Beetle Pheromone Component Antennal Lobe Olfactory Receptor Cell Pheromone Compound
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