While sensory information is encoded by firing patterns of individual sensory neurons, it is also represented by spatiotemporal patterns of activity in populations of the neurons. Postsynaptic interneurons decode the population response and extract specific sensory information. This extraction of information represented by presynaptic activities is a process critical to defining the input- output function of postsynaptic neuron. To understand the "algorithm" for the extraction, we examined directional sensitivities of presynaptic and postsynaptic Ca2+ responses in dendrites of two types of wind-sensitive interneurons (INs) with different dendritic geometries in the cricket cercal sensory system. In IN 10-3, whose dendrites arborize with various electrotonic distances to the spike-initiating zone (SIZ), the directional sensitivity of dendritic Ca2+ responses corresponded to those indicated by Ca2+ signals in presynaptic afferents arborizing on that dendrite. The directional tuning properties of individual dendrites varied from each other, and the directional sensitivity of the nearest dendrite to the SIZ dominates the tuning properties of the spiking response. In IN 10-2 with dendrites isometric to the SIZ, directional tuning properties of different dendrites were similar to each other, and each response property could be explained by the directional profile of the spatial overlap between that dendrite and Ca2+-elevated presynaptic terminals. For IN 10-2, the directional sensitivities extracted by the different dendritic-branches would contribute equally to the overall tuning. It is possible that the differences in the distribution of synaptic weights because of the dendritic geometry are related to the algorithm for extraction of sensory information in the postsynaptic interneurons.
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