We studied complete dose-response curves for 53 odorants in the third instar larvae of Drosophila melanogaster. All odorants, except one, elicited an attraction response. Some odorants also elicited a decrease from their peak response at higher concentrations. This concentration-dependent decrease in olfactory response could be due to either desensitization or repulsion, 2 possibilities that we cannot distinguish in our current assay. We observed high variations in factors like slopes, thresholds, and peaks of responses that, in agreement with previous studies, suggest that the responses of different receptors are quite different for the similar change in concentration of various ligands. We also observed that lower attraction thresholds predicted higher peak amplitude. This suggests that if odor responses encompassed wider concentration range than can be covered by the dynamic range of a single receptor, then responses tend to be high in magnitude.
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