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The effects of temperature on signalling in ocellar neurons of the desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Peter Simmons

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Abstract

In Schistocerca gregaria ocellar pathways, large second-order L-neurons use graded potentials to communicate signals from the ocellar retina to third-order neurons in the protocerebrum. A third-order neuron, DNI, converts graded potentials into axonal spikes that have been shown in experiments at room temperature to be sparse and precisely timed. I investigated effects of temperature changes that a locust normally experiences on these signals. With increased temperature, response latency decreases and frequency responses of the neurons increase. Both the graded potential responses in the two types of neuron and the spikes in DNI report greater detail about a fluctuating light stimulus. Over a rise from 22 to 35 degrees C the power spectrum of the L-neuron response encompasses higher frequencies and its information capacity increases from about 600 to 1,700 bits/s. DNI generates spikes more often during a repeated stimulus but at all temperatures it reports rapid decreases in light rather than providing a continual measure of light intensity. Information rate carried by spike trains increases from about 50 to 185 bits/s. At warmer temperatures, increased performance by ocellar interneurons may contribute to improved aerobatic performance by delivering spikes earlier and in response to smaller, faster light stimuli.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Simmons PJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Comparative Physiology A

Year: 2011

Volume: 197

Issue: 11

Pages: 1083-1096

Print publication date: 10/08/2011

ISSN (print): 0340-7594

ISSN (electronic):

Publisher: Springer

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00359-011-0669-y

DOI: 10.1007/s00359-011-0669-y


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