Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS One. 2011;6(7):e22159. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0022159. Epub 2011 Jul 15.

Timing actions to avoid refractoriness: a simple solution for streaming sensory signals.

Author information

Departamento de Neurociencias Integrativas y Computacionales, Instituto de Investigaciones Biológicas Clemente Estable, Montevideo, Uruguay.


Segmenting self- from allo-generated signals is crucial for active sensory processing. We report a dynamic filter used by South American pulse electric fish to distinguish active electro-sensory signals carried by their own electric discharges from other concomitant electrical stimuli (i.e. communication signals). The filter has a sensory component, consisting of an onset type central electro-sensory neuron, and a motor component, consisting of a change in the fish's discharge rate when allo-generated electrical events occur in temporal proximity to the fish's own discharge. We investigated the sensory component of the filter by in vitro mimicking synaptic inputs occurring during behavioral responses to allo-generated interfering signals. We found that active control of the discharge enhances self-generated over allo-generated responses by forcing allo-generated signals into a central refractory period. This hypothesis was confirmed by field potential recordings in freely discharging fish. Similar sensory-motor mechanisms may also contribute to signal segmentation in other sensory systems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center