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Leibold, Christian ORCID: 0000-0002-4859-8000; Gundlfinger, Anja; Schmidt, Robert; Thurley, Kay ORCID: 0000-0003-4857-1083; Schmitz, Dietmar; Kempter, Richard (2008): Temporal compression mediated by short-term synaptic plasticity. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 105, No. 11: pp. 4417-4422
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Abstract

Time scales of cortical neuronal dynamics range from few milliseconds to hundreds of milliseconds. In contrast, behavior occurs on the time scale of seconds or longer. How can behavioral time then be neuronally represented in cortical networks? Here, using electrophysiology and modeling, we offer a hypothesis on how to bridge the gap between behavioral and cellular time scales. The core idea is to use a long time constant of decay of synaptic facilitation to translate slow behaviorally induced temporal correlations into a distribution of synaptic response amplitudes. These amplitudes can then be transferred to a sequence of action potentials in a population of neurons. These sequences provide temporal correlations on a millisecond time scale that are able to induce persistent synaptic changes. As a proof of concept, we provide simulations of a neuron that learns to discriminate temporal patterns on a time scale of seconds by synaptic learning rules with a millisecond memory buffer. We find that the conversion from synaptic amplitudes to millisecond correlations can be strongly facilitated by subthreshold oscillations both in terms of information transmission and success of learning.