Sep 5, 2014

Near-optimal decoding of transient stimuli from coupled neuronal subpopulations

The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
Fabrizio Gabbiani

Abstract

Coupling between sensory neurons impacts their tuning properties and correlations in their responses. How such coupling affects sensory representations and ultimately behavior remains unclear. We investigated the role of neuronal coupling during visual processing using a realistic biophysical model of the vertical system (VS) cell network in the blow fly. These neurons are thought to encode the horizontal rotation axis during rapid free-flight maneuvers. Experimental findings suggest that neurons of the VS are strongly electrically coupled, and that several downstream neurons driving motor responses to ego-rotation receive inputs primarily from a small subset of VS cells. These downstream neurons must decode information about the axis of rotation from a partial readout of the VS population response. To investigate the role of coupling, we simulated the VS response to a variety of rotating visual scenes and computed optimal Bayesian estimates from the relevant subset of VS cells. Our analysis shows that coupling leads to near-optimal estimates from a subpopulation readout. In contrast, coupling between VS cells has no impact on the quality of encoding in the response of the full population. We conclude that coupling at one level...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Optic Tract Structure
Visual System
Clinorotation
Neurons
Biophysics
Neuronal
Flight, Animal
Diptera
Calliphoridae
Afferent Neuron

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