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Perceptual decisions require the accumulation of sensory information to a response criterion. Most accounts of how the brain performs this process of temporal integration have focused on evolving patterns of spiking activity. We report that subthreshold changes in membrane voltage can represent accumulating evidence before a choice. αβ core Kenyon cells (αβc KCs) in the mushroom bodies of fruit flies integrate odor-evoked synaptic inputs to action potential threshold at timescales matching the speed of olfactory discrimination. The forkhead box P transcription factor (FoxP) sets neuronal integration and behavioral decision times by controlling the abundance of the voltage-gated potassium channel Shal (KV4) in αβc KC dendrites. αβc KCs thus tailor, through a particular constellation of biophysical properties, the generic process of synaptic integration to the demands of sequential sampling.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.cell.2018.03.075

Type

Journal article

Journal

Cell

Publication Date

03/05/2018

Volume

173

Pages

894 - 905.e13

Keywords

Drosophila melanogaster, decision-making, drift-diffusion model, forkhead box P transcription factors, membrane biophysics, neural integrator, olfaction, potassium channel, synaptic integration