Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Neurosci. 2004 Apr;7(4):380-8. Epub 2004 Feb 29.

Synaptic dynamics mediate sensitivity to motion independent of stimulus details.

Author information

Institute of Biology II, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, 52074 Aachen, Germany.


Humans and other animals generally perceive motion independently of the cues that define the moving object. To understand the underlying mechanisms of this generalization of stimulus attributes, we have examined the cellular properties of avian wide-field tectal neurons that are sensitive to a variety of moving stimuli but not to static stationary stimuli. This in vitro study showed phasic signal transfer at the retinotectal synapse and binary dendritic responses to synaptic inputs that interact in a mutually exclusive manner in the postsynaptic tectal neuron. A model of the tectal circuitry predicts that these two cellular properties mediate sensitivity to a wide range of dynamic spatiotemporal stimuli, including moving stimuli, but not to static stationary stimuli in a tectal neuron. The computation that is independent of stimulus detail is initiated by tectal neurons and is completed by rotundal neurons that integrate outputs from multiple tectal neurons in a directionally selective manner.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center