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Cooperative mechanism for improving discriminating
ability in chemoreceptor neuron. Biological Cybernetics, Vol. 81(5/6),
Abstract. The discriminating ability (selectivity) of the chemoreceptor neuron is compared with that of its receptor proteins. The process of neuronal triggering is expected to be cooperative and threshold type in a sense that the neuron fires a spike if and only if the number of receptor proteins which are bound with odor molecules is above a definite threshold. The binomial distribution is utilized to estimate the firing probability if a definite odor is applied. It is established that a chemoreceptor neuron can have a much higher selectivity than its individual receptor proteins, provided that the chemical stimuli are presented at low concentrations. A possibility for the above mechanism to be valid in other sensory systems is discussed.