Home Publications An information theoretic model of information processing in the Drosophila olfactory system: the role of inhibitory neurons for system efficiency
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Faramarz Faghihi, Christoph Kolodziejski, André Fiala, Florentin Wörgötter, and Christian Tetzlaff (2013)

An information theoretic model of information processing in the Drosophila olfactory system: the role of inhibitory neurons for system efficiency

Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience 7(Article 183):1-8.  (export entry)


Fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) rely on their olfactory system to process environmental information. This information has to be transmitted without system-relevant loss by the olfactory system to deeper brain areas for learning. Here we study the role of several parameters of the fly's olfactory system and the environment and how they influence olfactory information transmission. We have designed an abstract model of the antennal lobe, the mushroom body and the inhibitory circuitry. Mutual information between the olfactory environment, simulated in terms of different odor concentrations, and a sub-population of intrinsic mushroom body neurons (Kenyon cells) was calculated to quantify the efficiency of information transmission. With this method we study, on the one hand, the effect of different connectivity rates between olfactory projection neurons and firing thresholds of Kenyon cells. On the other hand, we analyze the influence of inhibition on mutual information between environment and mushroom body. Our simulations show an expected linear relation between the connectivity rate between the antennal lobe and the mushroom body and firing threshold of the Kenyon cells to obtain maximum mutual information for both low and high odor concentrations. However, contradicting all-day experiences, high odor concentrations cause a drastic, and unrealistic, decrease in mutual information for all connectivity rates compared to low concentration. But when inhibition on the mushroom body is included, mutual information remains at high levels independent of other system parameters. This finding points to a pivotal role of inhibition in fly information processing without which the system efficiency will be substantially reduced.
doi: 10.3389/fncom.2013.00183