Send to

Choose Destination
Neuron. 2011 Jan 13;69(1):147-58. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2010.12.007.

Multiplexing of motor information in the discharge of a collision detecting neuron during escape behaviors.

Author information

Department of Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Locusts possess an identified neuron, the descending contralateral movement detector (DCMD), conveying visual information about impending collision from the brain to thoracic motor centers. We built a telemetry system to simultaneously record, in freely behaving animals, the activity of the DCMD and of motoneurons involved in jump execution. Cocontraction of antagonistic leg muscles, a required preparatory phase, was triggered after the DCMD firing rate crossed a threshold. Thereafter, the number of DCMD spikes predicted precisely motoneuron activity and jump occurrence. Additionally, the time of DCMD peak firing rate predicted that of jump. Ablation experiments suggest that the DCMD, together with a nearly identical ipsilateral descending neuron, is responsible for the timely execution of the escape. Thus, three distinct features that are multiplexed in a single neuron's sensory response to impending collision-firing rate threshold, peak firing time, and spike count-probably control three distinct motor aspects of escape behaviors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center