TitleUltrafast traveling wave dominates the electric organ discharge of Apteronotus leptorhynchus: an inverse modelling study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsShifman, Aaron R., Andre Longtin, and John E. Lewis
JournalSci Rep
Volume5
Pagination15780
Date Published2015
ISSN2045-2322
Abstract

Identifying and understanding the current sources that give rise to bioelectric fields is a fundamental problem in the biological sciences. It is very difficult, for example, to attribute the time-varying features of an electroencephalogram recorded from the head surface to the neural activity of specific brain areas; model systems can provide important insight into such problems. Some species of fish actively generate an oscillating (c. 1000 Hz) quasi-dipole electric field to communicate and sense their environment in the dark. A specialized electric organ comprises neuron-like cells whose collective signal underlies this electric field. As a step towards understanding the detailed biophysics of signal generation in these fish, we use an anatomically-detailed finite-element modelling approach to reverse-engineer the electric organ signal over one oscillation cycle. We find that the spatiotemporal profile of current along the electric organ constitutes a travelling wave that is well-described by two spatial Fourier components varying in time. The conduction velocity of this wave is faster than action potential conduction in any known neuronal axon (>200 m/s), suggesting that the spatiotemporal features of high-frequency electric organ discharges are not constrained by the conduction velocities of spinal neuron pathways.

DOI10.1038/srep15780
Alternate JournalSci Rep
PubMed ID26514932
PubMed Central IDPMC4626797