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Porres C.P.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Meyer E.M.M.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Meyer E.M.M.,Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research | Grothe B.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Neuroscience | Year: 2011

Neurons in the dorsal nucleus of the lateral lemniscus (DNLL) receive excitatory and inhibitory inputs from the superior olivary complex (SOC) and convey GABAergic inhibition to the contralateral DNLL and the inferior colliculi. Unlike the fast glycinergic inhibition in the SOC, this GABAergic inhibition outlasts auditory stimulation by tens of milliseconds. Two mechanisms have been postulated to explain this persistent inhibition. One, an "integration-based" mechanism, suggests that postsynaptic excitatory integration in DNLL neurons generates prolonged activity, and the other favors the synaptic time course of the DNLL output itself. The feasibility of the integration-based mechanism was tested in vitro in DNLL neurons of Mongolian gerbils by quantifying the cellular excitability and synaptic input-output functions (IO-Fs). All neurons were sustained firing and generated a near monotonic IO-F on current injections. From synaptic stimulations, we estimate that activation of approximately five fibers, each on average liberating ∼18 vesicles, is sufficient to trigger a single postsynaptic action potential. A strong single pulse of afferent fiber stimulation triggered multiple postsynaptic action potentials. The steepness of the synaptic IO-F was dependent on the synaptic NMDA component. The synaptic NMDA receptor current defines the slope of the synaptic IO-F by enhancing the temporal and spatial EPSP summation. Blocking this NMDA-dependent amplification during postsynaptic integration of train stimulations resulted into a ∼20%reduction of the decay time course of the GABAergic inhibition. Thus, our data show that the NMDA-dependent amplification of the postsynaptic activity contributes to the GABAergic persistent inhibition generated by DNLL neurons. Copyright © 2011 the authors.


Schnaitmann C.,Max Planck Institute For Neurobiologie | Schnaitmann C.,Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg | Garbers C.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Wachtler T.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | And 3 more authors.
Current Biology | Year: 2013

Background Color vision is commonly assumed to rely on photoreceptors tuned to narrow spectral ranges. In the ommatidium of Drosophila, the four types of so-called inner photoreceptors express different narrow-band opsins. In contrast, the outer photoreceptors have a broadband spectral sensitivity and were thought to exclusively mediate achromatic vision. Results Using computational models and behavioral experiments, we demonstrate that the broadband outer photoreceptors contribute to color vision in Drosophila. The model of opponent processing that includes the opsin of the outer photoreceptors scored the best fit to wavelength discrimination data. To experimentally uncover the contribution of individual photoreceptor types, we restored phototransduction of targeted photoreceptor combinations in a blind mutant. Dichromatic flies with only broadband photoreceptors and one additional receptor type can discriminate different colors, indicating the existence of a specific output comparison of the outer and inner photoreceptors. Furthermore, blocking interneurons postsynaptic to the outer photoreceptors specifically impaired color but not intensity discrimination. Conclusions Our findings show that receptors with a complex and broad spectral sensitivity can contribute to color vision and reveal that chromatic and achromatic circuits in the fly share common photoreceptors. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Greene G.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Greene G.,Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Munich | Gollisch T.,Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Munich | Gollisch T.,University of Gottingen | And 3 more authors.
Vision Research | Year: 2016

Fixational eye movements can rapidly shift the retinal image, but typically remain unnoticed. We identify and simulate a model mechanism for the suppression of erroneous motion signals under fixational eye movements. This mechanism exploits the non-linearities common to many classes of large retinal ganglion cells in the mammalian retina, and negates the need for extra-retinal signals or explicit gaze information. When tested using natural images undergoing simulated fixational eye movements, our model successfully distinguishes "real world" motion from retinal motion induced by eye movements. In addition, this model suggests a possible explanation for several fixational eye movement related visual illusions such as the Ouchi-Spillmann and "Out-of-focus" illusions. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


Walz H.,Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Munich | Hupe G.J.,University of Ottawa | Benda J.,University of Tübingen | Lewis J.E.,University of Ottawa
Journal of Physiology Paris | Year: 2013

Weakly-electric fish are a well-established model system for neuroethological studies on communication and aggression. Sensory encoding of their electric communication signals, as well as behavioural responses to these signals, have been investigated in great detail under laboratory conditions. In the wave-type brown ghost knifefish, Apteronotus leptorhynchus, transient increases in the frequency of the generated electric field, called chirps, are particularly well-studied, since they can be readily evoked by stimulating a fish with artificial signals mimicking conspecifics. When two fish interact, both their quasi-sinusoidal electric fields (called electric organ discharge, EOD) superimpose, resulting in a beat, an amplitude modulation at the frequency difference between the two EODs. Although chirps themselves are highly stereotyped signals, the shape of the amplitude modulation resulting from a chirp superimposed on a beat background depends on a number of parameters, such as the beat frequency, modulation depth, and beat phase at which the chirp is emitted. Here we review the influence of these beat parameters on chirp encoding in the three primary stages of the electrosensory pathway: electroreceptor afferents, the hindbrain electrosensory lateral line lobe, and midbrain torus semicircularis. We then examine the role of these parameters, which represent specific features of various social contexts, on the behavioural responses of A. leptorhynchus. Some aspects of the behaviour may be explained by the coding properties of early sensory neurons to chirp stimuli. However, the complexity and diversity of behavioural responses to chirps in the context of different background parameters cannot be explained solely on the basis of the sensory responses and thus suggest that critical roles are played by higher processing stages. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Walz H.,Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Munich | Grewe J.,Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Munich | Grewe J.,University of Tübingen | Benda J.,University of Tübingen
Journal of Neurophysiology | Year: 2014

Although communication signals often vary continuously on the underlying signal parameter, they are perceived as distinct categories. We here report the opposite case where an electrocommunication signal is encoded in four distinct regimes, although the behavior described to date does not show distinct categories. In particular, we studied the encoding of chirps by P-unit afferents in the weakly electric fish Apteronotus leptorhynchus. These fish generate an electric organ discharge that oscillates at a certain individual-specific frequency. The interaction of two fish in communication contexts leads to the emergence of a beating amplitude modulation (AM) at the frequency difference between the two individual signals. This frequency difference represents the social context of the encounter. Chirps are transient increases of the fish's frequency leading to transient changes in the frequency of the AM. We stimulated the cells with the same chirp on different, naturally occurring backgrounds beats. The P-units responded either by synchronization or desynchronization depending on the background. Although the duration of a chirp is often shorter than a full cycle of the AM it elicits, the distinct responses of the P-units to the chirp can be predicted solely from the frequency of the AM based on the static frequency tuning of the cells. © 2014 the American Physiological Society.


PubMed | University of Tübingen, University of Ottawa and Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Munich
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of physiology, Paris | Year: 2014

Weakly-electric fish are a well-established model system for neuroethological studies on communication and aggression. Sensory encoding of their electric communication signals, as well as behavioural responses to these signals, have been investigated in great detail under laboratory conditions. In the wave-type brown ghost knifefish, Apteronotus leptorhynchus, transient increases in the frequency of the generated electric field, called chirps, are particularly well-studied, since they can be readily evoked by stimulating a fish with artificial signals mimicking conspecifics. When two fish interact, both their quasi-sinusoidal electric fields (called electric organ discharge, EOD) superimpose, resulting in a beat, an amplitude modulation at the frequency difference between the two EODs. Although chirps themselves are highly stereotyped signals, the shape of the amplitude modulation resulting from a chirp superimposed on a beat background depends on a number of parameters, such as the beat frequency, modulation depth, and beat phase at which the chirp is emitted. Here we review the influence of these beat parameters on chirp encoding in the three primary stages of the electrosensory pathway: electroreceptor afferents, the hindbrain electrosensory lateral line lobe, and midbrain torus semicircularis. We then examine the role of these parameters, which represent specific features of various social contexts, on the behavioural responses of A. leptorhynchus. Some aspects of the behaviour may be explained by the coding properties of early sensory neurons to chirp stimuli. However, the complexity and diversity of behavioural responses to chirps in the context of different background parameters cannot be explained solely on the basis of the sensory responses and thus suggest that critical roles are played by higher processing stages.


Medina D.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Medina D.,Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Munich | Leibold C.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Leibold C.,Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Munich
Frontiers in Synaptic Neuroscience | Year: 2014

Recurrent networks have been proposed as a model of associative memory. In such models, memory items are stored in the strength of connections between neurons. These modifiable connections or synapses constitute a shared resource among all stored memories, limiting the capacity of the network. Synaptic plasticity at different time scales can play an important role in optimizing the representation of associative memories, by keeping them sparse, uncorrelated and non-redundant. Here, we use a model of sequence memory to illustrate how plasticity allows a recurrent network to self-optimize by gradually re-encoding the representation of its memory items. A learning rule is used to sparsify large patterns, i.e., patterns with many active units. As a result, pattern sizes become more homogeneous, which increases the network's dynamical stability during sequence recall and allows more patterns to be stored. Last, we show that the learning rule allows for online learning in that it keeps the network in a robust dynamical steady state while storing new memories and overwriting old ones © 2014 Medina and Leibold.


Luling H.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Luling H.,Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Munich | Siveke I.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Grothe B.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | And 3 more authors.
PLoS Computational Biology | Year: 2011

Interaural time differences (ITDs) are the major cue for localizing low-frequency sounds. The activity of neuronal populations in the brainstem encodes ITDs with an exquisite temporal acuity of about 10 μs. The response of single neurons, however, also changes with other stimulus properties like the spectral composition of sound. The influence of stimulus frequency is very different across neurons and thus it is unclear how ITDs are encoded independently of stimulus frequency by populations of neurons. Here we fitted a statistical model to single-cell rate responses of the dorsal nucleus of the lateral lemniscus. The model was used to evaluate the impact of single-cell response characteristics on the frequency-invariant mutual information between rate response and ITD. We found a rough correspondence between the measured cell characteristics and those predicted by computing mutual information. Furthermore, we studied two readout mechanisms, a linear classifier and a two-channel rate difference decoder. The latter turned out to be better suited to decode the population patterns obtained from the fitted model. © 2011 Lüling et al.


Huber M.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Su Y.-H.,TU Munich | Kruger M.,TU Munich | Kruger M.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

When walking in open space, collision avoidance with other pedestrians is a process that successfully takes place many times. To pass another pedestrian (an interferer) walking direction, walking speed or both can be adjusted. Currently, the literature is not yet conclusive of how humans adjust these two parameters in the presence of an interferer. This impedes the development of models predicting general obstacle avoidance strategies in humans' walking behavior. The aim of this study was to investigate the adjustments of path and speed when a pedestrian is crossing a non-reactive human interferer at different angles and speeds, and to compare the results to general model predictions. To do so, we designed an experiment where a pedestrian walked a 12 m distance to reach a goal position. The task was designed in such a way that collision with an interferer would always occur if the pedestrian would not apply a correction of movement path or speed. Results revealed a strong dependence of path and speed adjustments on crossing angle and walking speed, suggesting local planning of the collision avoidance strategy. Crossing at acute angles (i.e. 45° and 90°) seems to require more complex collision avoidance strategies involving both path and speed adjustments than crossing at obtuse angles, where only path adjustments were observed. Overall, the results were incompatible with predictions from existing models of locomotor collision avoidance. The observed initiations of both adjustments suggest a collision avoidance strategy that is temporally controlled. The present study provides a comprehensive picture of human collision avoidance strategies in walking, which can be used to evaluate and adjust existing pedestrian dynamics models, or serve as an empirical basis to develop new models. © 2014 Huber et al.


Genzel D.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Genzel D.,Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Munich | Firzlaff U.,Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Munich | Firzlaff U.,TU Munich | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Neurophysiology | Year: 2016

Humans localize sounds by comparing inputs across the two ears, resulting in a head-centered representation of sound-source position. When the head moves, information about head movement must be combined with the head-centered estimate to correctly update the world-centered soundsource position. Spatial updating has been extensively studied in the visual system, but less is known about how head movement signals interact with binaural information during auditory spatial updating. In the current experiments, listeners compared the world-centered azimuthal position of two sound sources presented before and after a head rotation that depended on condition. In the active condition, subjects rotated their head by ~35° to the left or right, following a pretrained trajectory. In the passive condition, subjects were rotated along the same trajectory in a rotating chair. In the cancellation condition, subjects rotated their head as in the active condition, but the chair was counter-rotated on the basis of head-tracking data such that the head effectively remained fixed in space while the body rotated beneath it. Subjects updated most accurately in the passive condition but erred in the active and cancellation conditions. Performance is interpreted as reflecting the accuracy of perceived head rotation across conditions, which is modeled as a linear combination of proprioceptive/ efference copy signals and vestibular signals. Resulting weights suggest that auditory updating is dominated by vestibular signals but with significant contributions from proprioception/efference copy. Overall, results shed light on the interplay of sensory and motor signals that determine the accuracy of auditory spatial updating. © 2016 the American Physiological Society.

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