Interaural level difference-dependent gain control and synaptic scaling underlying binaural computation

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Abstract

Binaural integration in the central nucleus of inferior colliculus (ICC) plays a critical role in sound localization. However, its arithmetic nature and underlying synaptic mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we showed in mouse ICC neurons that the contralateral dominance is created by a "push-pull"-like mechanism, with contralaterally dominant excitation and more bilaterally balanced inhibition. Importantly, binaural spiking response is generated apparently from an ipsilaterally mediated scaling of contralateral response, leaving frequency tuning unchanged. This scaling effect is attributed to a divisive attenuation ofcontralaterally evoked synaptic excitation onto ICC neurons with their inhibition largely unaffected. Thus, a gain control mediates the linear transformation from monaural to binaural spike responses. The gain value is modulated by interaural level difference (ILD) primarily through scaling excitation to different levels. The ILD-dependent synaptic scaling and gain adjustment allow ICC neurons to dynamically encode interaural sound localization cues while maintaining an invariant representation of other independent sound attributes

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Xiong, X. R., Liang, F., Li, H., Mesik, L., Zhang, K. K., Polley, D. B., … Zhang, L. I. (2013). Interaural level difference-dependent gain control and synaptic scaling underlying binaural computation. Neuron, 79(4), 738–753. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2013.06.012

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