June 24, 2015

Richards BA, Voss OP and Akerman CJ, “GABAergic circuits control stimulus-instructed receptive field development in the optic tectum”, Nature Neuroscience, 13(9), 1098-1106

During the development of sensory systems, receptive fields are modified by stimuli in the environment. This is thought to rely on learning algorithms that are sensitive to correlations in spike timing between cells, but the manner in which developing circuits selectively exploit correlations that are related to sensory inputs is unknown. We recorded from neurons in the developing optic tectum of Xenopus laevis and found that repeated presentation of moving visual stimuli induced receptive field changes that reflected the properties of the stimuli and that this form of learning was disrupted when GABAergic transmission was blocked. Consistent with a role […]
June 24, 2015

Richards BA, Aizenman CD and Akerman CJ, “In vivo spike-timing-dependent plasticity in the optic tectum of Xenopus laevis”, Frontiers in Synaptic Neuroscience, 2, 7

Spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP) is found in vivo in a variety of systems and species, but the first demonstrations of in vivo STDP were carried out in the optic tectum of Xenopus laevis embryos. Since then, the optic tectum has served as an excellent experimental model for studying STDP in sensory systems, allowing researchers to probe the developmental consequences of this form of synaptic plasticity during early development. In this review, we will describe what is known about the role of STDP in shaping feed-forward and recurrent circuits in the optic tectum with a focus on the functional implications for vision. […]