A novel mechanism for switching a neural system from one state to another Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Memory, Short-Term
  • Visual Perception


  • An animal's ability to rapidly adjust to new conditions is essential to its survival. The nervous system, then, must be built with the flexibility to adjust, or shift, its processing capabilities on the fly. To understand how this flexibility comes about, we tracked a well-known behavioral shift, a visual integration shift, down to its underlying circuitry, and found that it is produced by a novel mechanism - a change in gap junction coupling that can turn a cell class on and off. The results showed that the turning on and off of a cell class shifted the circuit's behavior from one state to another, and, likewise, the animal's behavior. The widespread presence of similar gap junction-coupled networks in the brain suggests that this mechanism may underlie other behavioral shifts as well.

publication date

  • December 2010



  • Academic Article



  • eng

PubMed Central ID

  • PMC2856633

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3389/fncom.2010.00002

PubMed ID

  • 20407612

Additional Document Info

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