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Type: Journal article
Title: Spike bursting in a dragonfly target-detecting neuron
Author: Fabian, J.M.
Wiederman, S.D.
Citation: Scientific Reports, 2021; 11(1):4005-1-4005-6
Publisher: Springer Nature
Issue Date: 2021
ISSN: 2045-2322
Statement of
Joseph M. Fabian, Steven D. Wiederman
Abstract: Dragonflies visually detect prey and conspecifics, rapidly pursuing these targets via acrobatic flights. Over many decades, studies have investigated the elaborate neuronal circuits proposed to underlie this rapid behaviour. A subset of dragonfly visual neurons exhibit exquisite tuning to small, moving targets even when presented in cluttered backgrounds. In prior work, these neuronal responses were quantified by computing the rate of spikes fired during an analysis window of interest. However, neuronal systems can utilize a variety of neuronal coding principles to signal information, so a spike train's information content is not necessarily encapsulated by spike rate alone. One example of this is burst coding, where neurons fire rapid bursts of spikes, followed by a period of inactivity. Here we show that the most studied target-detecting neuron in dragonflies, CSTMD1, responds to moving targets with a series of spike bursts. This spiking activity differs from those in other identified visual neurons in the dragonfly, indicative of different physiological mechanisms underlying CSTMD1's spike generation. Burst codes present several advantages and disadvantages compared to other coding approaches. We propose functional implications of CSTMD1's burst coding activity and show that spike bursts enhance the robustness of target-evoked responses.
Keywords: Nerve Net
Visual Perception
Action Potentials
Sensory Receptor Cells
Rights: © The Author(s) 2021. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-83559-5
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