Three-dimensional reconstruction of the antennal lobe in Drosophila melanogaster. Academic Article uri icon


  • We present the first three-dimensional map of the antennal lobe of Drosophila melanogaster, based on confocal microscopic analysis of glomeruli stained with the neuropil-specific monoclonal antibody nc82. The analysis of confocal stacks allowed us to identify glomeruli according to the criteria shape, size, position, and intensity of antibody labeling. Forty glomeruli were labeled by nc82, eight of which have not been described before. Three glomeruli previously shown exclusively by backfills were not discernible in nc82 stainings. We distinguish three classes of glomeruli: (1) "landmark" glomeruli that are constant in all four criteria mentioned above, (2) less well-demarcated glomeruli that deviate in a single criterion, and (3) poorly defined glomeruli that vary in more than one criterion. All class 2 and 3 glomeruli can be identified by comparison with landmark neighbors. To further aid identification, our model assigns glomeruli to five arrays, each of which is defined by a prominent landmark glomerulus. Six glomeruli consist of distinct, but contiguous structural units, termed "compartments." Glomerular variability observed occasionally between males and females is in the same range as between individuals of the same sex, suggesting the lack of a significant sexual dimorphism in the glomerular pattern. We compare the new model with a previous map and address its potential for mapping activity and expression patterns. An important goal of this work was to create three-dimensional reference models of the antennal lobe, which are accessible on-line.

publication date

  • March 22, 1999