Frequency Control of Motor Patterning by Negative Sensory Feedback

J. Ausborn, W. Stein, H. Wolf
2007 Journal of Neuroscience  
The sensory system plays a key role in the generation of behavior by providing the nervous system with information about the environment and feedback about body movements such that motor output can continuously be adapted to changing circumstances. Although the effects of sensory organs on nervous system function have been demonstrated in many systems, the impact of sensory activity has rarely been studied in conditions in which motor output and sensory activity can interact as they do in
more » ... ng animals. In such situations, emergent properties may surface and govern the characteristics of the motor system. We studied the dynamics of sensorimotor interaction with a combination of electrophysiological experiments and computational modeling in the locust flight pattern generator, including its sensory components. The locust flight motor output is produced by a central pattern generator that interacts with phasic sensory feedback from the tegula, a proprioceptor that signals downstroke movement of the wing. We modeled the flight control system, and we tested the model predictions by replacing tegula feedback in the animal with artificial feedback through computer-controlled electric stimulation of the appropriate sensory nerves. With reference to the cycle frequency in the locust flight rhythm, our results show that motor patterns can be regulated via the variation of sensory feedback loops. In closed-loop conditions, tegula feedback strength determines cycle frequency in the model and the biological preparation such that stronger feedback results in lower frequencies. This regulatory mechanism appears to be a general emergent property of negative feedback systems.
doi:10.1523/jneurosci.0907-07.2007 pmid:17728446 fatcat:pxt2cliv3rg3nmdk4vsbl2pnra