'Self-tuning neurons, firing rate homeostasis, and sleep/wake states' with Gina Turrigiano

Past Event

06 April 2018, 1:00pm - 2:00pm

Oxford Martin School
34 Broad Street (corner of Holywell and Catte Streets), Oxford, OX1 3BD

This lecture is organised by the Programme on Mind and Machine and The Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour

Neocortical networks must generate and maintain stable activity patterns despite perturbations due to learning and experience, and this stability must be maintained across distinct behavioral states with different sensory drive and modulatory tone. There is abundant theoretical and experimental evidence that network stability is achieved through homeostatic plasticity mechanisms that adjust synaptic and neuronal properties to stabilize some measure of average activity. This process has been extensively studied in primary visual cortex (V1), where chronic visual deprivation induces an initial drop in activity and ensemble average firing rates (FRs), but over time activity is restored to baseline. Gina Turrigiano will discuss recent work in which bidirectional FR homeostasis in individual V1 neurons is followed in freely behaving animals, as they cycle between natural periods of sleep and wake. It has been found that, when FRs are perturbed by visual deprivation or eye re-opening, over time they return precisely to a cell-autonomous set-point. Intriguingly, this FR homeostasis is gated by sleep/wake states in a manner that depends on the direction of homeostatic regulation: upward FR homeostasis occurs selectively during active wake, while downward FR homeostasis occurs selectively during sleep. These data indicate that neocortical plasticity is regulated in a complex manner by vigilance state and raise the possibility that temporal segregation of distinct plasticity mechanisms is important for proper circuit refinement.

For further information, please contact Fiona Woods at fiona.woods@cncb.ox.ac.uk

About the speaker

Gina Turrigiano received a BA from Reed College and a PhD from UC San Diego in 1990. She trained as a postdoc with Eve Marder at Brandeis University before joining the faculty in 1994, where she is now the Levitan Professor of Vision Science in the Department of Biology. She has received numerous awards for her research, including a MacArthur foundation fellowship, NIH director’s pioneer award, the HFSP Nakasone Award, and election to the National Academy of Sciences (2013).