Characterization and modeling of P-type electrosensory afferent responses to amplitude modulations in a wave-type electric fish

J Comp Physiol A. 1997 Nov;181(5):532-44. doi: 10.1007/s003590050137.


The first stage of information processing in the electrosensory system involves the encoding of local changes in transdermal potential into trains of action potentials in primary electrosensory afferent nerve fibers. To develop a quantitative model of this encoding process for P-type (probability-coding) afferent fibers in the weakly electric fish Apteronotus leptorhynchus, we recorded single unit activity from electrosensory afferent axons in the posterior branch of the anterior lateral line nerve and analyzed responses to electronically generated sinusoidal amplitude modulations of the local transdermal potential. Over a range of AM frequencies from 0.1 to 200 Hz, the modulation transfer function of P-type afferents is high-pass in character, with a gain that increases monotonically up to AM frequencies of 100 Hz where it begins to roll off, and a phase advance with a range of 15-60 degrees. Based on quantitative analysis of the observed gain and phase characteristics, we present a computationally efficient model of P-type afferent response dynamics which accurately characterizes changes in afferent firing rate in response to amplitude modulations of the fish's own electric organ discharge over a wide range of AM frequencies relevant to active electrolocation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Calibration
  • Computer Simulation
  • Electric Fish / physiology
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Models, Neurological
  • Nerve Fibers / physiology
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology*