Network adaptation improves temporal representation of naturalistic stimuli in Drosophila eye: II mechanisms

Anton Nikolaev, Lei Zheng, Trevor J. Wardill, Cahir J. O'Kane, Gonzalo G. De Polavieja, Mikko Juusola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Retinal networks must adapt constantly to best present the ever changing visual world to the brain. Here we test the hypothesis that adaptation is a result of different mechanisms at several synaptic connections within the network. In a companion paper (Part I), we showed that adaptation in the photoreceptors (R1-R6) and large monopolar cells (LMC) of the Drosophila eye improves sensitivity to under-represented signals in seconds by enhancing both the amplitude and frequency distribution of LMCs' voltage responses to repeated naturalistic contrast series. In this paper, we show that such adaptation needs both the light-mediated conductance and feedback-mediated synaptic conductance. A faulty feedforward pathway in histamine receptor mutant flies speeds up the LMC output, mimicking extreme light adaptation. A faulty feedback pathway from L2 LMCs to photoreceptors slows down the LMC output, mimicking dark adaptation. These results underline the importance of network adaptation for efficient coding, and as a mechanism for selectively regulating the size and speed of signals in neurons. We suggest that concert action of many different mechanisms and neural connections are responsible for adaptation to visual stimuli. Further, our results demonstrate the need for detailed circuit reconstructions like that of the Drosophila lamina, to understand how networks process information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere4306
JournalPloS one
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 30 2009
Externally publishedYes

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