Multilayered sensory processing supports highly sensitive signal detection in Drosophila olfaction.

Summary

Date: 
October 22, 2014 - 1:00pm
Location: 
NW 243
About the Speaker
Name: 
James Jeanne (Wilson Lab)

Organisms often need to detect sensory signals at very low levels. However, sensory organs are fundamentally noisy, and weak signals are especially prone to distortion by noise. We have explored the circuit computations in multiple layers of olfactory processing in the brain of Drosophila melanogaster in the regime of weak stimuli. We find that coding properties of the first layer, the antennal lobe, are precisely coordinated with coding properties of the second layer, the lateral horn. This coordinated processing improves the signal-to-noise ratio and trial-to-trial reliability of lateral horn neurons while maintaining a linear encoding of peripheral neuron firing rates. Collectively, this processing yields a highly sensitive odor code in the lateral horn.