Spike-Interval Triggered Averaging Reveals a Quasi-Periodic Spiking Alternative for Stochastic Resonance in Catfish Electroreceptors

M.J.M. Lankheet, P.C. Klink, B.G. Borghuis, A.J. Noest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Catfish detect and identify invisible prey by sensing their ultra-weak electric fields with electroreceptors. Any neuron that deals with small-amplitude input has to overcome sensitivity limitations arising from inherent threshold non-linearities in spike-generation mechanisms. Many sensory cells solve this issue with stochastic resonance, in which a moderate amount of intrinsic noise causes irregular spontaneous spiking activity with a probability that is modulated by the input signal. Here we show that catfish electroreceptors have adopted a fundamentally different strategy. Using a reverse correlation technique in which we take spike interval durations into account, we show that the electroreceptors generate a supra-threshold bias current that results in quasi-periodically produced spikes. In this regime stimuli modulate the interval between successive spikes rather than the instantaneous probability for a spike. This alternative for stochastic resonance combines threshold-free sensitivity for weak stimuli with similar sensitivity for excitations and inhibitions based on single interspike intervals.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere32786
Number of pages11
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • white-noise analysis
  • interspike intervals
  • binocular-rivalry
  • nervous-system
  • organs
  • responses
  • neuron
  • input
  • motoneurons
  • cells

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