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Behavioral/Systems/Cognitive Temporal and Spatial Characteristics of Vibrissa Responses

Summary: Behavioral/Systems/Cognitive
Temporal and Spatial Characteristics of Vibrissa Responses
to Motor Commands
Erez Simony,1 Knarik Bagdasarian,1 Lucas Herfst,2 Michael Brecht,2 Ehud Ahissar,1 and David Golomb3
1Department of Neurobiology, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel, 2Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, Humboldt
University, 10115 Berlin, Germany, and 3Department of Physiology and Neurobiology, and Zlotowski Center for Neuroscience, Ben-Gurion University,
Be'er-Sheva 84105, Israel
A mechanistic description of the generation of whisker movements is essential for understanding the control of whisking and vibrissal
constructing, simulating, and analyzing a computational, biomechanical model of the motor plant, and by measuring spiking to move-
ment transformations at small and large angles using high-precision whisker tracking in vivo. Our measurements revealed a supralinear
summation of whisker protraction angles in response to consecutive motoneuron spikes with moderate interspike intervals (5 ms
t 30ms).ThisbehaviorisexplainedbyanonlineartransformationfromintracellularchangesinCa2
Our model predicts the following spatial constraints: (1) Contraction of a single intrinsic muscle results in movement of its two attached
whiskers with different amplitudes; the relative amplitudes depend on the resting angles and on the attachment location of the intrinsic
muscle on the anterior whisker. Counterintuitively, for a certain range of resting angles, activation of a single intrinsic muscle can lead to
a retraction of one of its two attached whiskers. (2) When a whisker is pulled by its two adjacent muscles with similar forces, the
protraction amplitude depends only weakly on the resting angle. (3) Contractions of two adjacent muscles sums up linearly for small
amplitudes and supralinearly for larger amplitudes. The model provides a direct translation from motoneuron spikes to whisker move-


Source: Ahissar, Ehud - Department of Neurobiology, Weizmann Institute of Science


Collections: Biology and Medicine