Note to users. If you're seeing this message, it means that your browser cannot find this page's style/presentation instructions -- or possibly that you are using a browser that does not support current Web standards. Find out more about why this message is appearing, and what you can do to make your experience of our site the best it can be.


Logo for

Science 291 (5505): 889-894

Copyright © 2001 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Dynamic Optimization of Odor Representations by Slow Temporal Patterning of Mitral Cell Activity

Rainer W. Friedrich,* Gilles Laurentdagger

Mitral cells (MCs) in the olfactory bulb (OB) respond to odors with slow temporal firing patterns. The representation of each odor by activity patterns across the MC population thus changes continuously throughout a stimulus, in an odor-specific manner. In the zebrafish OB, we found that this distributed temporal patterning progressively reduced the similarity between ensemble representations of related odors, thereby making each odor's representation more specific over time. The tuning of individual MCs was not sharpened during this process. Hence, the individual responses of MCs did not become more specific, but the odor-coding MC assemblies changed such that their overlap decreased. This optimization of ensemble representations did not occur among olfactory afferents but resulted from OB circuit dynamics. Time can therefore gradually optimize stimulus representations in a sensory network.

California Institute of Technology, Division of Biology, MC 139-74, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.
*   Present address: Max-Planck-Institute for Medical Research, Jahnstrasse 29, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany.

dagger    To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: laurentg{at}

Origins of correlated spiking in the mammalian olfactory bulb.
R. C. Gerkin, S. J. Tripathy, and N. N. Urban (2013)
PNAS 110, 17083-17088
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Odor representations in the olfactory bulb evolve after the first breath and persist as an odor afterimage.
M. A. Patterson, S. Lagier, and A. Carleton (2013)
PNAS 110, E3340-E3349
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Reliable Sex and Strain Discrimination in the Mouse Vomeronasal Organ and Accessory Olfactory Bulb.
I. I. Tolokh, X. Fu, and T. E. Holy (2013)
J. Neurosci. 33, 13903-13913
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Imaging a Population Code for Odor Identity in the Drosophila Mushroom Body.
R. A. A. Campbell, K. S. Honegger, H. Qin, W. Li, E. Demir, and G. C. Turner (2013)
J. Neurosci. 33, 10568-10581
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Intensity Invariant Dynamics and Odor-Specific Latencies in Olfactory Receptor Neuron Response.
C. Martelli, J. R. Carlson, and T. Emonet (2013)
J. Neurosci. 33, 6285-6297
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Optical Dissection of Odor Information Processing In Vivo Using GCaMPs Expressed in Specified Cell Types of the Olfactory Bulb.
M. Wachowiak, M. N. Economo, M. Diaz-Quesada, D. Brunert, D. W. Wesson, J. A. White, and M. Rothermel (2013)
J. Neurosci. 33, 5285-5300
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Neural coding of taste by simultaneously recorded cells in the nucleus of the solitary tract of the rat.
A. M. Rosen and P. M. Di Lorenzo (2012)
J Neurophysiol 108, 3301-3312
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Intrinsic heterogeneity in oscillatory dynamics limits correlation-induced neural synchronization.
S. D. Burton, G. B. Ermentrout, and N. N. Urban (2012)
J Neurophysiol 108, 2115-2133
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Illuminating Vertebrate Olfactory Processing.
H. Spors, D. F. Albeanu, V. N. Murthy, D. Rinberg, N. Uchida, M. Wachowiak, and R. W. Friedrich (2012)
J. Neurosci. 32, 14102-14108a
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Dopaminergic Modulation of Mitral Cells and Odor Responses in the Zebrafish Olfactory Bulb.
S. T. Bundschuh, P. Zhu, Y.-P. Z. Scharer, and R. W. Friedrich (2012)
J. Neurosci. 32, 6830-6840
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Dopaminergic neuromodulation of synaptic transmission between mitral and granule cells in the teleost olfactory bulb.
T. Kawai, H. Abe, and Y. Oka (2012)
J Neurophysiol 107, 1313-1324
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Origins of 1/f2 scaling in the power spectrum of intracortical local field potential.
G. Baranauskas, E. Maggiolini, A. Vato, G. Angotzi, A. Bonfanti, G. Zambra, A. Spinelli, and L. Fadiga (2012)
J Neurophysiol 107, 984-994
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Chemotopy of Amino Acids on the Olfactory Bulb Predicts Olfactory Discrimination Capabilities of Zebrafish Danio rerio.
P. Miklavc and T. Valentincic (2012)
Chem Senses 37, 65-75
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Cerebellar-Dependent Learning in Larval Zebrafish.
M. Aizenberg and E. M. Schuman (2011)
J. Neurosci. 31, 8708-8712
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Timescale-dependent shaping of correlation by olfactory bulb lateral inhibition.
S. Giridhar, B. Doiron, and N. N. Urban (2011)
PNAS 108, 5843-5848
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Transformation of the Sex Pheromone Signal in the Noctuid Moth Agrotis ipsilon: From Peripheral Input to Antennal Lobe Output.
D. Jarriault, C. Gadenne, P. Lucas, J.-P. Rospars, and S. Anton (2010)
Chem Senses 35, 705-715
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Global Features of Neural Activity in the Olfactory System Form a Parallel Code That Predicts Olfactory Behavior and Perception.
R. Haddad, T. Weiss, R. Khan, B. Nadler, N. Mandairon, M. Bensafi, E. Schneidman, and N. Sobel (2010)
J. Neurosci. 30, 9017-9026
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Taste-Specific Cell Assemblies in a Biologically Informed Model of the Nucleus of the Solitary Tract.
A. M. Rosen, H. Sichtig, J. D. Schaffer, and P. M. Di Lorenzo (2010)
J Neurophysiol 104, 4-17
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Neurophysiological and Computational Principles of Cortical Rhythms in Cognition.
X.-J. Wang (2010)
Physiol Rev 90, 1195-1268
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Brief Sounds Evoke Prolonged Responses in Anesthetized Ferret Auditory Cortex.
R. A. A. Campbell, A. L. Schulz, A. J. King, and J. W. H. Schnupp (2010)
J Neurophysiol 103, 2783-2793
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Temporally Diverse Firing Patterns in Olfactory Receptor Neurons Underlie Spatiotemporal Neural Codes for Odors.
B. Raman, J. Joseph, J. Tang, and M. Stopfer (2010)
J. Neurosci. 30, 1994-2006
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Functional, But Not Anatomical, Separation of "What" and "When" in Prefrontal Cortex.
C. K. Machens, R. Romo, and C. D. Brody (2010)
J. Neurosci. 30, 350-360
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
A Color-Based Visualization Technique for Multielectrode Spike Trains.
O. F. Jurjut, D. Nikolic, G. Pipa, W. Singer, D. Metzler, and R. C. Muresan (2009)
J Neurophysiol 102, 3766-3778
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Dynamics of Input Patterns Modulate the Behavior of a Model of Olfactory Bulb Function.
T. Kunsting and H. Spors (2009)
J Neurophysiol 102, 100-109
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Odor coding by modules of coherent mitral/tufted cells in the vertebrate olfactory bulb.
T.-W. Chen, B.-J. Lin, and D. Schild (2009)
PNAS 106, 2401-2406
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Pten Deletion in Adult Neural Stem/Progenitor Cells Enhances Constitutive Neurogenesis.
C. Gregorian, J. Nakashima, J. Le Belle, J. Ohab, R. Kim, A. Liu, K. B. Smith, M. Groszer, A. D. Garcia, M. V. Sofroniew, et al. (2009)
J. Neurosci. 29, 1874-1886
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
NEUROSCIENCE: Transient Dynamics for Neural Processing.
M. Rabinovich, R. Huerta, and G. Laurent (2008)
Science 321, 48-50
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Population Coding by Electrosensory Neurons.
M. J. Chacron and J. Bastian (2008)
J Neurophysiol 99, 1825-1835
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
The Effect of Middle Temporal Spike Phase on Sensory Encoding and Correlates with Behavior during a Motion-Detection Task.
N. Y. Masse and E. P. Cook (2008)
J. Neurosci. 28, 1343-1355
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Characterizing Psychophysical Measures of Discrimination Thresholds and the Effects of Concentration on Discrimination Learning in the Moth Manduca sexta.
K. C. Daly, L. A. Carrell, and E. Mwilaria (2008)
Chem Senses 33, 95-106
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Highly Specific Olfactory Receptor Neurons for Types of Amino Acids in the Channel Catfish.
A. A. Nikonov and J. Caprio (2007)
J Neurophysiol 98, 1909-1918
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Olfactory Bulb Gamma Oscillations Are Enhanced with Task Demands.
J. Beshel, N. Kopell, and L. M. Kay (2007)
J. Neurosci. 27, 8358-8365
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
A Comparative Study of Shape Representation in Macaque Visual Areas V2 and V4.
J. Hegde and D. C. Van Essen (2007)
Cereb Cortex 17, 1100-1116
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Responses of Olfactory Forebrain Units to Amino Acids in the Channel Catfish.
A. A. Nikonov and J. Caprio (2007)
J Neurophysiol 97, 2490-2498
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Disynaptic Amplification of Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor 1 Responses in the Olfactory Bulb.
D. De Saint Jan and G. L. Westbrook (2007)
J. Neurosci. 27, 132-140
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
State-Dependent Modulation of Time-Varying Gustatory Responses.
A. Fontanini and D. B. Katz (2006)
J Neurophysiol 96, 3183-3193
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Glomerulus-specific, long-latency activity in the olfactory bulb granule cell network..
V. Kapoor and N. N. Urban (2006)
J. Neurosci. 26, 11709-11719
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Olfactory Cortical Adaptation Facilitates Detection of Odors Against Background.
M. Kadohisa and D. A. Wilson (2006)
J Neurophysiol 95, 1888-1896
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
The Sniff Is Part of the Olfactory Percept.
J. Mainland and N. Sobel (2006)
Chem Senses 31, 181-196
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Temporal Dynamics and Latency Patterns of Receptor Neuron Input to the Olfactory Bulb.
H. Spors, M. Wachowiak, L. B. Cohen, and R. W. Friedrich (2006)
J. Neurosci. 26, 1247-1259
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Odour concentration affects odour identity in honeybees.
G. A Wright, M. G.A Thomson, and B. H Smith (2005)
Proc R Soc B 272, 2417-2422
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Sparsening and Temporal Sharpening of Olfactory Representations in the Honeybee Mushroom Bodies.
P. Szyszka, M. Ditzen, A. Galkin, C. G. Galizia, and R. Menzel (2005)
J Neurophysiol 94, 3303-3313
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Role of GABAergic Inhibition in Shaping Odor-Evoked Spatiotemporal Patterns in the Drosophila Antennal Lobe.
R. I. Wilson and G. Laurent (2005)
J. Neurosci. 25, 9069-9079
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Early Development of Functional Spatial Maps in the Zebrafish Olfactory Bulb.
J. Li, J. A. Mack, M. Souren, E. Yaksi, S.-i. Higashijima, M. Mione, J. R. Fetcho, and R. W. Friedrich (2005)
J. Neurosci. 25, 5784-5795
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Information Processing in the Mammalian Olfactory System.
P.-M. Lledo, G. Gheusi, and J.-D. Vincent (2005)
Physiol Rev 85, 281-317
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Processing of Odor Information in the Olfactory Bulb and Cerebral Lobes.
A. A. Nikonov and J. Caprio (2005)
Chem Senses 30, i317-i318
   Full Text »    PDF »
From The Cover: Mechanism and circuitry for clustering and fine discrimination of odors in insects.
E. Sivan and N. Kopell (2004)
PNAS 101, 17861-17866
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Temporal Dynamics of Shape Analysis in Macaque Visual Area V2.
J. Hegde and D. C. Van Essen (2004)
J Neurophysiol 92, 3030-3042
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Regulation of Main Olfactory Bulb Mitral Cell Excitability by Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor mGluR1.
T. Heinbockel, P. Heyward, F. Conquet, and M. Ennis (2004)
J Neurophysiol 92, 3085-3096
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Processing of Odor Mixtures in the Zebrafish Olfactory Bulb.
R. Tabor, E. Yaksi, J.-M. Weislogel, and R. W. Friedrich (2004)
J. Neurosci. 24, 6611-6620
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Odorant Specificity of Single Olfactory Bulb Neurons to Amino Acids in the Channel Catfish.
A. A. Nikonov and J. Caprio (2004)
J Neurophysiol 92, 123-134
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Molecular Features of Odorants Systematically Influence Slow Temporal Responses Across Clusters of Coordinated Antennal Lobe Units in the Moth Manduca sexta.
K. C. Daly, G. A. Wright, and B. H. Smith (2004)
J Neurophysiol 92, 236-254
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Dynamics of Olfactory Bulb Input and Output Activity During Odor Stimulation in Zebrafish.
R. W. Friedrich and G. Laurent (2004)
J Neurophysiol 91, 2658-2669
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Transformation of Olfactory Representations in the Drosophila Antennal Lobe.
R. I. Wilson, G. C. Turner, and G. Laurent (2004)
Science 303, 366-370
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Preserving the Figure: Consistency in the Presentation of Scientific Arguments.
J. Fahnestock (2004)
Written Communication 21, 6-31
   Abstract »    PDF »
Odor Similarity Does Not Influence the Time Needed for Odor Processing.
M. Ditzen, J.-F. Evers, and C. G. Galizia (2003)
Chem Senses 28, 781-789
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Binary Spiking in Auditory Cortex.
M. R. DeWeese, M. Wehr, and A. M. Zador (2003)
J. Neurosci. 23, 7940-7949
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
{gamma}-Frequency Excitatory Input to Granule Cells Facilitates Dendrodendritic Inhibition in the Rat Olfactory Bulb.
B. Halabisky and B. W. Strowbridge (2003)
J Neurophysiol 90, 644-654
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Rapid, Experience-Induced Enhancement in Odorant Discrimination by Anterior Piriform Cortex Neurons.
D. A. Wilson (2003)
J Neurophysiol 90, 65-72
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
In Vivo Whole-Cell Recording of Odor-Evoked Synaptic Transmission in the Rat Olfactory Bulb.
J. Cang and J. S. Isaacson (2003)
J. Neurosci. 23, 4108-4116
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Evidence of a novel transduction pathway mediating detection of polyamines by the zebrafish olfactory system.
W. C. Michel, M. J. Sanderson, J. K. Olson, and D. L. Lipschitz (2003)
J. Exp. Biol. 206, 1697-1706
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Correspondence Between Odorant-Evoked Patterns of Receptor Neuron Input and Intrinsic Optical Signals in the Mouse Olfactory Bulb.
M. Wachowiak and L. B. Cohen (2003)
J Neurophysiol 89, 1623-1639
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Sensitivity-dependent Hierarchical Receptor Codes for Odors.
H. Hamana, J. Hirono, M. Kizumi, and T. Sato (2003)
Chem Senses 28, 87-104
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Theta oscillation coupled spike latencies yield computational vigour in a mammalian sensory system.
T. W Margrie and A. T Schaefer (2003)
J. Physiol. 546, 363-374
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Performance in a Complex Task and Breathing under Odor Exposure.
B. Danuser, D. Moser, T. Vitale-Sethre, R. Hirsig, and H. Krueger (2003)
Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 45, 549-562
   Abstract »    PDF »
Maturation and Death of Adult-Born Olfactory Bulb Granule Neurons: Role of Olfaction.
L. Petreanu and A. Alvarez-Buylla (2002)
J. Neurosci. 22, 6106-6113
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Reciprocal intraglomerular excitation and intra- and interglomerular lateral inhibition between mouse olfactory bulb mitral cells.
N. N Urban and B. Sakmann (2002)
J. Physiol. 542, 355-367
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
A Computational System for Simulating and Analyzing Arrays of Biological and Artificial Chemical Sensors.
T. K. Alkasab, J. White, and J. S. Kauer (2002)
Chem Senses 27, 261-275
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Lobster Sniffing: Antennule Design and Hydrodynamic Filtering of Information in an Odor Plume.
M. A. R. Koehl, J. R. Koseff, J. P. Crimaldi, M. G. McCay, T. Cooper, M. B. Wiley, and P. A. Moore (2001)
Science 294, 1948-1951
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
NEUROBIOLOGY: Sniffing Out Odors with Multiple Dendrites.
Y. Yoshihara, H. Nagao, and K. Mori (2001)
Science 291, 835-837
   Full Text »

To Advertise     Find Products

Science Signaling. ISSN 1937-9145 (online), 1945-0877 (print). Pre-2008: Science's STKE. ISSN 1525-8882