Encoding of acoustic directional information by saccular afferents of the sleeper goby, Dormitator latifrons

J Comp Physiol A. 1998 Jun;182(6):805-15. doi: 10.1007/s003590050225.


This paper reports on directional response properties of saccular afferents of the sleeper goby, Dormitator latifrons, to 100-Hz acoustic particle motions with a focus on testing the hypothesis that the response directionality of a fish's auditory afferents derives from the morphological polarity of sensory hair cells in the otolithic organs. Spontaneous rates (SR) and best sensitivities (BS) of saccular afferents ranged from 0 to 162 spikes/sec and from 0.2-to 100-nm RMS displacement. SR did not vary with BS. Most saccular afferents were phase-locked to sinusoidal stimulation and had sustained temporal response patterns with some adaptation. All saccular afferents were directionally sensitive to the stimulus, and the sharpness of directional response curves was determined by a directionality index (DI). The DI ranged from 0.64 to 1.50 (mean = 1.02, SE = 0.02, n = 100) and gradually decreased with stimulus level throughout afferents' response dynamic range. Many afferents had approximately symmetric directional response curves relative to their best response axes (BRA). BRA of most afferents remained constant with stimulus level. The BRA distribution had a peak along an axis that correlates closely with the morphological polarity of saccular hair cells. Therefore, our results strongly support the hypothesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods
  • Animals
  • Auditory Threshold / physiology
  • Cell Polarity / physiology
  • Fishes / anatomy & histology
  • Fishes / physiology*
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / cytology
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / physiology
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology*
  • Otolithic Membrane / anatomy & histology
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Saccule and Utricle / innervation*
  • Sound Localization / physiology*