Andrew S. French

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Many neurons use graded membrane-potential changes, instead of action potentials, to transmit information. Traditional synaptic models feature discontinuous transmitter release by presynaptic action potentials, but this is not true for synapses between graded-potential neurons. In addition to graded and continuous transmitter release, they have multiple(More)
The lyriform slit-sense organ on the patella of the spider, Cupiennius salei, consists of seven or eight slits, with each slit innervated by a pair of mechanically sensitive neurons. Mechanotransduction is believed to occur at the tips of the dendrites, which are surrounded by a Na+-rich receptor lymph. We studied the ionic basis of sensory transduction in(More)
Most sensory systems encode external signals into action potentials for transmission to the central nervous system, but little is known about the cost or efficiency of this encoding. We measured the information capacity at three stages of encoding in the neurons of a spider slit-sense mechanoreceptor organ. For the receptor current under voltage clamp, the(More)
1. Randomly modulated light stimuli were used to characterize the nonlinear dynamic properties of the synapse between photoreceptors and large monopolar neurons (LMC) in the fly retina. Membrane potential fluctuations produced by constant variance contrast stimuli were recorded at eight different levels of background light intensity. 2. Representation of(More)
Widespread use has been made of linear systems theory to describe the input-output relations of receptors. The frequency response function of an insect mechanoreceptor, the tactile spine of the cockroach, has been estimated by using deterministic inputs (sines and step functions), deterministic inputs added to a stochastic, auxiliary signal (band-limited(More)
This review focuses on the structure and function of a single mechanoreceptor organ in the cuticle of spiders. Knowledge emerging from the study of this organ promises to yield general principles that can be applied to mechanosensation in a wide range of animal systems. The lyriform slit sense organ on the antero-lateral leg patella of the spider Cupiennius(More)
We studied the properties of voltage-activated outward currents in two types of spider cuticular mechanoreceptor neurons to learn if these currents contribute to the differences in their adaptation properties. Both types of neurons adapt rapidly to sustained stimuli, but type A neurons usually only fire one or two action potentials, whereas type B neurons(More)
Low-voltage-activated Ca(2+) currents (LVA-I(Ca)) are believed to perform several roles in neurons such as lowering the threshold for action potentials, promoting burst firing and oscillatory behavior, and enhancing synaptic excitation. They also may allow rapid increases in intracellular Ca(2+) concentration. We discovered LVA-I(Ca) in both members of(More)
Octopamine is a chemical relative of noradrenaline providing analogous neurohumoral control of diverse invertebrate physiological processes. There is also evidence for direct octopaminergic innervation of some insect peripheral tissues. Here, we show that spider peripheral mechanoreceptors are innervated by octopamine-containing efferents. The(More)
 Pseudorandom white-noise stimulation followed by direct spectral estimation was used to obtain linear frequency response and coherence functions from paired, but dynamically different, spider mechanosensory neurons. The dynamic properties of the two neuron types were similar with either mechanical or electrical stimulation, showing that action potential(More)