Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Neurosci. 2014 Jul;17(7):962-70. doi: 10.1038/nn.3741. Epub 2014 Jun 8.

A spike-timing mechanism for action selection.

Author information

1
Janelia Farm Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, Virginia, USA.

Abstract

We discovered a bimodal behavior in the genetically tractable organism Drosophila melanogaster that allowed us to directly probe the neural mechanisms of an action selection process. When confronted by a predator-mimicking looming stimulus, a fly responds with either a long-duration escape behavior sequence that initiates stable flight or a distinct, short-duration sequence that sacrifices flight stability for speed. Intracellular recording of the descending giant fiber (GF) interneuron during head-fixed escape revealed that GF spike timing relative to parallel circuits for escape actions determined which of the two behavioral responses was elicited. The process was well described by a simple model in which the GF circuit has a higher activation threshold than the parallel circuits, but can override ongoing behavior to force a short takeoff. Our findings suggest a neural mechanism for action selection in which relative activation timing of parallel circuits creates the appropriate motor output.

PMID:
24908103
DOI:
10.1038/nn.3741
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center