Small conductance Ca2+-activated K+ channels induce the firing pause periods during the activation of Drosophila nociceptive neurons

Abstract

In Drosophila larvae, Class IV sensory neurons respond to noxious thermal stimuli and provoke heat avoidance behavior. Previously, we showed that the activated neurons displayed characteristic fluctuations of firing rates, which consisted of repetitive high-frequency spike trains and subsequent pause periods, and we proposed that the firing rate fluctuations enhanced the heat avoidance (Terada et al., 2016). Here, we further substantiate this idea by showing that the pause periods and the frequency of fluctuations are regulated by small conductance Ca2+-activated K+ (SK) channels, and the SK knockdown larvae display faster heat avoidance than control larvae. The regulatory mechanism of the fluctuations in the Class IV neurons resembles that in mammalian Purkinje cells, which display complex spikes. Furthermore, our results suggest that such fluctuation coding in Class IV neurons is required to convert noxious thermal inputs into effective stereotyped behavior as well as general rate coding.

Journal

  • eLife

    eLife 6 29754-, 2017-10-23

    eLife Sciences Organisation, Ltd.

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