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Mainak Patel : Temporal Binding Emerges as a Rapid and Accurate Encoding Tool Within a Network Model of the Locust Antennal Lobe

The locust olfactory system interfaces with the external world through antennal receptor neurons (ORNs), which represent odors in a distributed, combinatorial manner. ORN axons bundle together to form the antennal nerve, which relays sensory information centrally to the antennal lobe (AL). Within the AL, an odor produces a stimulus-specific temporal progression of neuronal spiking, inspiring the hypothesis that the AL encodes odors through dynamically evolving ensembles of active cells. Such a coding strategy, however, requires higher olfactory centers to integrate a prolonged dynamic profile of AL signals prior to stimulus assessment, a process that is likely to be slow and inconsistent with the generation of quick behavioral responses. Our modeling work has led us to propose an alternate hypothesis: the dynamical interplay of fast and slow inhibition within the locust AL induces transient correlations in the spiking activity of an odor-dependent neural subset, giving rise to a temporal binding code and allowing rapid stimulus detection by downstream elements.

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