Texture-defined objects influence responses of blowfly motion-sensitive neurons under natural dynamical conditions

Ullrich T, Kern R, Egelhaaf M (2014)
Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience 8.

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Journal Article | Published | English
Abstract
The responses of visual interneurons of flies involved in the processing of motion information do not only depend on the velocity, but also on other stimulus parameters, such as the contrast and the spatial frequency content of the stimulus pattern. These dependencies have been known for long, but it is still an open question how they affect the neurons’ performance in extracting information about the structure of the environment under the specific dynamical conditions of natural flight. Free-flight of blowflies is characterized by sequences of phases of translational movements lasting for just 30–100 ms interspersed with even shorter and extremely rapid saccade-like rotational shifts in flight and gaze direction. Previous studies already analyzed how nearby objects, leading to relative motion on the retina with respect to a more distant background, influenced the response of a class of fly motion sensitive visual interneurons, the horizontal system (HS) cells. In the present study, we focused on objects that differed from their background by discontinuities either in their brightness contrast or in their spatial frequency content. We found strong object-induced effects on the membrane potential even during the short intersaccadic intervals, if the background contrast was small and the object contrast sufficiently high. The object evoked similar response increments provided that it contained higher spatial frequencies than the background, but not under reversed conditions. This asymmetry in the response behavior is partly a consequence of the depolarization level induced by the background. Thus, our results suggest that, under the specific dynamical conditions of natural flight, i.e., on a very short timescale, the responses of HS cells represent object information depending on the polarity of the difference between object and background contrast and spatial frequency content.
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Article Processing Charge funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Open Access Publication Fund of Bielefeld University.
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Ullrich T, Kern R, Egelhaaf M. Texture-defined objects influence responses of blowfly motion-sensitive neurons under natural dynamical conditions. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience. 2014;8.
Ullrich, T., Kern, R., & Egelhaaf, M. (2014). Texture-defined objects influence responses of blowfly motion-sensitive neurons under natural dynamical conditions. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, 8.
Ullrich, T., Kern, R., and Egelhaaf, M. (2014). Texture-defined objects influence responses of blowfly motion-sensitive neurons under natural dynamical conditions. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience 8.
Ullrich, T., Kern, R., & Egelhaaf, M., 2014. Texture-defined objects influence responses of blowfly motion-sensitive neurons under natural dynamical conditions. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, 8.
T. Ullrich, R. Kern, and M. Egelhaaf, “Texture-defined objects influence responses of blowfly motion-sensitive neurons under natural dynamical conditions”, Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, vol. 8, 2014.
Ullrich, T., Kern, R., Egelhaaf, M.: Texture-defined objects influence responses of blowfly motion-sensitive neurons under natural dynamical conditions. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience. 8, (2014).
Ullrich, Thomas, Kern, Roland, and Egelhaaf, Martin. “Texture-defined objects influence responses of blowfly motion-sensitive neurons under natural dynamical conditions”. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience 8 (2014).
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