Structure of the afferent terminals in terminal ganglion of a cricket and persistent homology
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We use topological data analysis to investigate the three dimensional spatial structure of the locus of afferent neuron terminals in crickets Acheta domesticus. Each afferent neuron innervates a filiform hair positioned on a cercus: a protruding appendage at the rear of the animal. The hairs transduce air motion to the neuron signal that is used by a cricket to respond to the environment. We stratify the hairs (and the corresponding afferent terminals) into classes depending on hair length, along with position. Our analysis uncovers significant structure in the relative position of these terminal classes and suggests the functional relevance of this structure. Our method is very robust to the presence of significant experimental and developmental noise. It can be used to analyze a wide range of other point cloud data sets.
J. Brown and T. Gedeon, “Structure of the afferent terminals in terminal ganglion of a cricket and persistent homology”, PLoS ONE 7(5): e37278, (2012).