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Integrative properties of the Pe1 neuron, a unique mushroom body output neuron

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Rybak, J., & Menzel, R. (1998). Integrative properties of the Pe1 neuron, a unique mushroom body output neuron. Learning & memory, 5(1-2), 133-145.

A mushroom body extrinsic neuron, the Pe1 neuron, connects the peduncle of the mushroom body (MB) with two areas of the protocerebrum in the honeybee brain, the lateral protocerebral lobe (LPL) and the ring neuropil around the alpha-lobe. Each side of the bee brain contains only one Pe1 neuron. Using a combination of intracellular recording and neuroanatomical techniques we analyzed its properties of integrative processing of the different sensory modalities. The Pe1 neuron responds to visual, mechanosensory, and olfactory stimuli. The responses are broadly tuned, consisting of a sustained increase of spike frequency to the onset and offset of light flashes, to horizontal and vertical movements of extended objects, to mechanical stimuli applied to the antennae or mouth parts, and to all olfactory stimuli tested (29 chemicals). These multisensory properties are reflected in its dendritic organization. Serial reconstructions of intracellularly stained Pe1 neurons using confocal microscopy reveal that the Pe1 neuron arborizes throughout all layers of MB peduncle with finger-like, vertically oriented dendrites. The peduncle of the MB is formed by the axons of Kenyon cells, whose dendritic inputs are organized in modality-specific subcompartments of the calyx region. The peduncular arborization indicates that the Pe1 neuron receives input from Kenyon cells of all calycal subcompartments. Because the Pe1 neuron changes its odor responses transiently as a consequence of olfactory learning, we hypothesize that the multimodal response properties might have a role in memory consolidation and help to establish contextual references in the long-term trace.