The intrinsic electrophysiological characteristics of fly lobula plate tangential cells: III. Visual response properties

J Comput Neurosci. Nov-Dec 1999;7(3):213-34. doi: 10.1023/a:1008950515719.


In this last paper in a series (Borst and Haag, 1996; Haag et al., 1997) about the lobula plate tangential cells of the fly visual system (CH, HS, and VS cells), the visual response properties were examined using intracellular recordings and computer simulations. In response to visual motion stimuli, all cells responded mainly by a graded shift of their axonal membrane potential. While ipsilateral motion resulted in a graded membrane potential shift, contralateral motion led to distinct EPSPs. For HS cells, simultaneous extracellular recorded action potentials of a spiking interneuron, presumably the H2 cell, corresponded to the EPSPs in the HS cell in a one-to-one fashion. When HS cells were hyperpolarized during ipsilateral motion, they mainly produced action potentials, but when they were hyperpolarized during contralateral motion only a slight increase of EPSP amplitude, could be observed. Intracellular application of the sodium channel blocker QX 314 abolished action potentials of HS cells while having little effect on the graded membrane response to ipsilateral motion. HS and CH cells were also studied with respect to their spatial integration properties. For both cell types, their graded membrane response was found to increase less than linearly with the size of the ipsilateral motion pattern. However, while for HS cells various amounts of hyperpolarizing current injected during motion stimulation led to different saturation levels, this was not the case for CH cells. In response to a sinusoidal velocity modulation, CH cells followed pattern motion only up to 10 Hz modulation frequency, but HS cells still revealed significant membrane depolarizations up to about 40 Hz. In the computer simulations, the compartmental models of tangential cells, as derived in the previous papers, were linked to an array of local motion detectors. The model cells revealed the same basic response features as their natural counterparts. They showed a response saturation as a function of stimulus size. In CH-models, however, the saturation was less pronounced than in real CH-cells, indicating spatially nonuniform membrane resistances with higher values in the dendrite. As in the experiments, HS models responded to high-frequency velocity modulation with a higher amplitude than did CH models.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Diptera / physiology*
  • Ganglia, Invertebrate / physiology*
  • Models, Neurological
  • Motion Perception / physiology
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Optic Lobe, Nonmammalian / cytology
  • Optic Lobe, Nonmammalian / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Visual Pathways / cytology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*