Temporal processing and context dependency in C. elegans mechanosensation dataset

Citation Author(s):
Anuj K
Joshua W
Andrew M
Submitted by:
Andrew Leifer
Last updated:
Tue, 11/12/2019 - 10:38
Data Format:
Creative Commons Attribution
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A quantitative understanding of how sensory signals are transformed into motor outputs places useful constraints on brain function and helps reveal the brain's underlying computations. Here we present over 8,000 animal hours of behavior recordings to investigate the nematode C. elegans' response to time-varying mechanosensory signals. We use a high-throughput optogenetic assay, video microscopy and automated behavior quantification. In the prevailing picture of the touch circuit, the animal's behavior is determined by which neurons are stimulated and by the stimulus amplitude.  In contrast, a statistical analysis of these recordings find that the nervous system is tuned to temporal properties of mechanosensory signals, like its integral and derivative, that extend over many seconds. We show that mechanosensory signals, even in the same neurons, can be tailored to elicit different behavioral responses. Moreover, we find that the animal's response also depends on its behavioral context. Most dramatically, the animal ignores all tested mechanosensory stimuli during turns. We present these findings, and a linear-nonlinear model that predicts the animal's behavioral response to stimulus, in an accompanying manuscript, Liu et al., “Temporal processing and context dependency in C. elegans mechanosensation” available at https://arxiv.org/abs/1803.04085.


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