The olfactory responses of the antenna and maxillary palp of the fleshfly, Neobellieria bullata (Diptera: Sarcophagidae), and their sensitivity to blockage of nitric oxide synthase

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The relative sensitivities of the olfactory receptors in the antenna and maxillary palp of the fleshfly,Neobellieria bullata, were assessed using simultaneous electroantennograms (EAGs) and electropalpograms (EPGs). In general, the antennae and maxillary palps were more sensitive to odors related to animals (blood extract and saturated carboxylic acid) than to odors that were plant-derived (citral, hexenol, hexenal). In addition, the maxillary palps were relatively less sensitive to plant-derived odorants than the antennae, perhaps related to their anatomical position. Scanning electron microscopy was also used to assess the types of sensilla found on the two organs. In addition, NADPH-diaphorase histochemistry was used in an attempt to localize the enzyme nitric oxide synthase (NOS) in the antenna and the maxillary palps. We found evidence of NADPH-diaphorase staining in both organs, with localized staining in the antennal cells and more general staining in the maxillary palps. When NOS was selectively blocked using the antagonist L-NAME, the amplitude of the EAGs and EPGs to odorants fell by 30–50%. In contrast, application of the inactive enantiomer, D-NAME, did not change the amplitude of the EAGs or the EPGs. Our results indicate that NOS is involved in the function of olfactory receptor cells in the fleshfly.


Journal of Insect Physiology



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