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Data from: Dual dimensionality reduction reveals independent encoding of motor features in a muscle synergy for insect flight control

Citation

Sponberg, Simon N.; Daniel, Thomas L.; Fairhall, Adrienne L.; Sponberg, Simon (2016), Data from: Dual dimensionality reduction reveals independent encoding of motor features in a muscle synergy for insect flight control, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.q83d0

Abstract

What are the features of movement encoded by changing motor commands? Do motor commands encode movement independently or can they be represented in a reduced set of signals (i.e. synergies)? Motor encoding poses a computational and practical challenge because many muscles typically drive movement, and simultaneous electrophysiology recordings of all motor commands are typically not available. Moreover, during a single locomotor period (a stride or wingstroke) the variation in movement may have high dimensionality, even if only a few discrete signals activate the muscles. Here, we apply the method of partial least squares (PLS) to extract the encoded features of movement based on the cross-covariance of motor signals and movement. PLS simultaneously decomposes both datasets and identifies only the variation in movement that relates to the specific muscles of interest. We use this approach to explore how the main downstroke flight muscles of an insect, the hawkmoth Manduca sexta, encode torque during yaw turns. We simultaneously record muscle activity and turning torque in tethered flying moths experiencing wide-field visual stimuli. We ask whether this pair of muscles acts as a muscle synergy (a single linear combination of activity) consistent with their hypothesized function of producing a left-right power differential. Alternatively, each muscle might individually encode variation in movement. We show that PLS feature analysis produces an efficient reduction of dimensionality in torque variation within a wingstroke. At first, the two muscles appear to behave as a synergy when we consider only their wingstroke-averaged torque. However, when we consider the PLS features, the muscles reveal independent encoding of torque. Using these features we can predictably reconstruct the variation in torque corresponding to changes in muscle activation. PLS-based feature analysis provides a general two-sided dimensionality reduction that reveals encoding in high dimensional sensory or motor transformations.

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