Prominent Inhibitory Projections Guide Sensorimotor Computation: An Invertebrate Perspective

Bioessays. 2019 Oct;41(10):e1900088. doi: 10.1002/bies.201900088. Epub 2019 Aug 21.


From single-cell organisms to complex neural networks, all evolved to provide control solutions to generate context- and goal-specific actions. Neural circuits performing sensorimotor computation to drive navigation employ inhibitory control as a gating mechanism as they hierarchically transform (multi)sensory information into motor actions. Here, the focus is on this literature to critically discuss the proposition that prominent inhibitory projections form sensorimotor circuits. After reviewing the neural circuits of navigation across various invertebrate species, it is argued that with increased neural circuit complexity and the emergence of parallel computations, inhibitory circuits acquire new functions. The contribution of inhibitory neurotransmission for navigation goes beyond shaping the communication that drives motor neurons, and instead includes encoding of emergent sensorimotor representations. A mechanistic understanding of the neural circuits performing sensorimotor computations in invertebrates will unravel the minimum circuit requirements driving adaptive navigation.

Keywords: Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans); inhibition; invertebrates; navigation; neural circuits.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Invertebrates / physiology
  • Motor Neurons / physiology*
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology*