Wiring Variations That Enable and Constrain Neural Computation in a Sensory Microcircuit

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Wiring Variations That Enable and Constrain Neural Computation in a Sensory Microcircuit

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Title: Wiring Variations That Enable and Constrain Neural Computation in a Sensory Microcircuit
Author: Tobin, William
Citation: Tobin, William. 2016. Wiring Variations That Enable and Constrain Neural Computation in a Sensory Microcircuit. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
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Abstract: Neural network function can be shaped by varying the strength of synaptic connections. One way to achieve this is to vary connection structure. To investigate how structural variation among synaptic connections might affect neural computation, we examined primary afferent connections in the Drosophila olfactory system. We used large-scale serial section electron microscopy to reconstruct all the olfactory receptor neuron (ORN) axons that target a left-right pair of glomeruli, as well as all the projection neurons (PNs) postsynaptic to these ORNs. We find three variations in ORN→PN connectivity. First, we find a systematic co-variation in synapse number and PN dendrite size, suggesting total synaptic conductance is tuned to postsynaptic excitability. Second, we show that PNs receive more synapses from ipsilateral than contralateral ORNs, providing a structural basis for odor lateralization behavior. Finally, we provide evidence of imprecision in ORN→PN connections and show how this can diminish network performance.
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#LAA
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:33840705
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