Biological Cybernetics

, Volume 96, Issue 5, pp 507–518 | Cite as

Developing velocity sensitivity in a model neuron by local synaptic plasticity

  • Minija Tamosiunaite
  • Bernd PorrEmail author
  • Florentin Wörgötter
Original Paper


Sensor neurons, like those in the visual cortex, display specific functional properties, e.g., tuning for the orientation, direction and velocity of a moving stimulus. It is still unclear how these properties arise from the processing of the inputs which converge at a given cell. Specifically, little is known how such properties can develop by ways of synaptic plasticity. In this study we investigate the hypothesis that velocity sensitivity can develop at a neuron from different types of synaptic plasticity at different dendritic sub-structures. Specifically we are implementing spike-timing dependent plasticity at one dendritic branch and conventional long-term potentiation at another branch, both driven by dendritic spikes triggered by moving inputs. In the first part of the study, we show how velocity sensitivity can arise from such a spatially localized difference in the plasticity. In the second part we show how this scenario is augmented by the interaction between dendritic spikes and back-propagating spikes also at different dendritic branches. Recent theoretical (Saudargiene et al. in Neural Comput 16:595–626, 2004) and experimental (Froemke et al. in Nature 434:221–225, 2005) results on spatially localized plasticity suggest that such processes may play a major role in determining how synapses will change depending on their site. The current study suggests that such mechanisms could be used to develop the functional specificities of a neuron.


NMDA Long Term Potentiation Dendritic Branch Direction Selectivity Velocity Sensitivity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Minija Tamosiunaite
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bernd Porr
    • 3
    • 5
    Email author
  • Florentin Wörgötter
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of StirlingStirlingScotland
  2. 2.Department of InformaticsVytautas Magnus UniversityKaunasLithuania
  3. 3.Department of Electronics and Electrical EngineeringUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowScotland
  4. 4.Bernstein Center for Computational NeuroscienceUniversity of GöttingenGöttingenGermany
  5. 5.Department of Electronics and Electrical EngineeringUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowScotland

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