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  • Biological Cybernetics

    © Universität Bielefeld

Descending Interneurons Involved in Tactile Sensing

© Universität Bielefeld

Stick insects show tactually induced behaviours that require spatial and temporal coordination of the antenna (the tactile sensor organ) and subsequent reaching movement of a leg. To understand what is encoded in the antennal mechanosensory system and how behaviourally relevant information is transferred to the legs, we study descending interneurons that mediate tactile and proprioceptive information from the antennae to thoracic neural networks. In particular, we focus on the role of an identified giant interneuron, cONv, as the animal interacts with its environment. cONv belongs to a group of neurons that encode antennal movement velocity, an important cue in active tactile sensing. Owing to its specific properties cONv can be identified by means of extracellular nerve recordings. Picture: cONv in the prothoracic ganglion of a stick insect.

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