Functional dissection of circuitry in a neural integrator

Emre Aksay, Itsaso Olasagasti, Brett D. Mensh, Robert Baker, Mark S. Goldman, David W. Tank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

72 Scopus citations


In neural integrators, transient inputs are accumulated into persistent firing rates that are a neural correlate of short-term memory. Integrators often contain two opposing cell populations that increase and decrease sustained firing as a stored parameter value rises. A leading hypothesis for the mechanism of persistence is positive feedback through mutual inhibition between these opposing populations. We tested predictions of this hypothesis in the goldfish oculomotor velocity-to-position integrator by measuring the eye position and firing rates of one population, while pharmacologically silencing the opposing one. In complementary experiments, we measured responses in a partially silenced single population. Contrary to predictions, induced drifts in neural firing were limited to half of the oculomotor range. We built network models with synaptic-input thresholds to demonstrate a new hypothesis suggested by these data: mutual inhibition between the populations does not provide positive feedback in support of integration, but rather coordinates persistent activity intrinsic to each population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)494-504
Number of pages11
JournalNature neuroscience
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)

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    Aksay, E., Olasagasti, I., Mensh, B. D., Baker, R., Goldman, M. S., & Tank, D. W. (2007). Functional dissection of circuitry in a neural integrator. Nature neuroscience, 10(4), 494-504.