International Symposium on Nonlinear Theory and its Applications
A Hopf-type generalized van-der-Pol oscillator underlies active signal generation in Drosophila hearing
R. Stoop, A. Kern, M.C. Gopfert, D.A. Smirnov, T.V. Dikanev, B.P. Bezrucko,
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The antennal hearing organs of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster boost their sensitivity by an active mechanical process that, analogous to the cochlear amplifier of vertebrates, resides in the motility of mechanosensory cells. This process nonlinearly improves the sensitivity of hearing and occasionally gives rise to self-sustained oscillations in the absence of sound. Time series analysis of self-sustained oscillations now unveils that the underlying dynamical system is well described by a generalized vander-Pol oscillator. From the dynamic equations, the underlying active mechanism can explicitly be derived. According to the model, the Drosophila hearing organ is driven by a regenerative amplifier that displays a Hopf-type nonlinearity, emphasizing the functional parallels between insect and vertebrate ears.