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Journal Article

Encoding of visual motion information and reliability in spiking and graded potential neurons


Haag,  J.
Friedrich Miescher Laboratory, Max Planck Society;


Borst,  Alexander
Friedrich Miescher Laboratory, Max Planck Society;

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Haag, J., & Borst, A. (1997). Encoding of visual motion information and reliability in spiking and graded potential neurons. The Journal of Neuroscience, 17(12), 4809-4819. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.17-12-04809.1997.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0009-C0DF-3
We investigated the information about stimulus velocity inherent in the membrane signals of two types of directionally selective, motion-sensitive interneurons in the fly visual system. One of the cells, the H1-cell, is a spiking neuron, whereas the other, the HS-cell, encodes sensory information mainly by a graded shift of its membrane potential. Using a pseudo-random velocity waveform by which a visual grating is moving along the horizontal axis of the eye, both cell types follow the stimulus velocity at higher precision than in response to a step-like velocity function. To measure how much information about the stimulus velocity is preserved in the cellular responses, we calculated the coherence between the stimulus and the neural signals as a function of stimulus frequency At frequencies up to similar to 10 Hz motion information is well contained in the electrical signals of HS- and H1-cells: For HS-cells the coherence value amounts to similar to 70%, and for H1-cells this value is similar to 60%. Comparing these values with the coherence expected from a linear encoding reveals that the fidelity of the original stimulus is deteriorated in the neural signal partly by neural noise and partly by the nonlinearity inherent in the process of visual motion detection The degree to which this nonlinearity contributes to the decrease in coherence depends on the maximum velocity used in the experiments; the smaller the stimulus amplitude, the higher the coherence and, thus, the smaller the nonlinearity in encoding of stimulus motion. All these results are in agreement with model simulations in which visual motion is processed by an array of local motion detectors, the spatially integrated output of which is considered the equivalent of the neural signals of HS- and H1-cells.