Meyer A, Galizia G, Nawrot MP (2013) Local interneurons and projection neurons in the antennal lobe from a spiking point of view - appeared in Journal of Neurophysiology.
News from Sep 13, 2013
Local computation in microcircuits is an essential feature of distributed information processing in vertebrate and invertebrate brains. The insect antennal lobe represents a spatially confined local network that processes high-dimensional and redundant peripheral input to compute an efficient odor code. Social insects can rely on a particularly rich olfactory receptor repertoire and they exhibit complex odor-guided behaviors. This corresponds with a high anatomical complexity of their AL network. In the honeybee, a large number of glomeruli that receive sensory input are interconnected by a dense network of local interneurons (LNs). Uniglomerular projection neurons (PNs) integrate sensory and recurrent local network input into an efficient spatio-temporal odor code. To investigate the specific computational roles of LNs and PNs we measured several features of sub- and suprathreshold single cell responses to in vivo odor stimulation. Using a semi-supervised cluster analysis we identified a combination of five characteristic features (that enabled the accurate separation of morphologically identified LNs and PNs) as sufficient to separate LNs and PNs from each other, independent of the applied odor-stimuli. The two clusters differed significantly in all these five features. PNs showed a higher spontaneous subthreshold activation, assumed higher peak response rates and a more regular spiking pattern. LNs reacted considerably faster to the onset of a stimulus and their responses were more reliable across stimulus repetitions. We discuss possible mechanisms that can explain our results, and we interpret cell-type specific characteristics with respect to their functional relevance.