Cold Spring Harb Protoc.: auth.: R.Benton

Cold Spring Harb Protoc. 2022 Nov 29. doi: 10.1101/pdb.prot108063. Online ahead of print.

Recording from Fly Olfactory Sensilla

Richard Benton 1Anupama Dahanukar 2


Olfactory systems detect and discriminate an enormous diversity of volatile environmental stimuli and provide important paradigms to investigate how sensory cues are represented in the brain. Key stimulus-coding events occur in peripheral olfactory sensory neurons, which typically express a single olfactory receptor-from a large repertoire encoded in the genome-with a defined ligand-response profile. These receptors convert odor ligand recognition into spatial and temporal patterns of neural activity that are transmitted to, and interpreted in, central brain regions. Drosophila provides an attractive model to study olfactory coding because it possesses a relatively simple peripheral olfactory system that displays many organizational parallels to those of vertebrates. Moreover, nearly all olfactory sensory neurons have been molecularly characterized and are accessible for physiological analysis, as they are exposed on the surface of sensory organs (antennae and maxillary palps) housed in specialized hairs called sensilla. This protocol describes how to perform recordings of odor-evoked activity from Drosophila olfactory sensilla, covering the basics of sample preparation, setting up the electrophysiology rig, assembling an odor stimulus-delivery device, and data analysis. The methodology can be used to characterize the ligand-recognition properties of most olfactory sensory neurons and the role of olfactory receptors (and other molecular components) in signal transduction.