Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 4 (NIPS 1991)
Ion channels are the dynamical systems of the nervous system. Their distribution within the membrane governs not only communication of in(cid:173) formation between neurons, but also how that information is integrated within the cell. Here, an argument is presented for an 'anti-Hebbian' rule for changing the distribution of voltage-dependent ion channels in order to flatten voltage curvatures in dendrites. Simulations show that this rule can account for the self-organisation of dynamical receptive field properties such as resonance and direction selectivity. It also creates the conditions for the faithful conduction within the cell of signals to which the cell has been exposed. Various possible cellular implementations of such a learn(cid:173) ing rule are proposed, including activity-dependent migration of channel proteins in the plane of the membrane.