A cerebral central pattern generator in Aplysia and its connections with buccal feeding circuitry

Ray Perrins, Klaudiusz R. Weiss

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    36 Scopus citations


    Different feeding-related behaviors in Aplysia require substantial variations in the coordination of movements of two separate body parts, the lips and buccal mass. The central pattern generators (CPGs) and motoneurons that control buccal mass movements reside largely in the buccal ganglion. It was previously thought that control of the cerebral neuronal circuitry and motoneurons that generate lip movements was coordinated directly by feedback from buccal interneurons. Here, we describe cerebral lip motoneuron C15, which drives rhythmic activity in the isolated cerebral ganglion. Other lip motoneurons are active during this program, so we define it as a cerebral motor program (CMP). The C15 in each cerebral hemiganglion drives the CMP in ipsilateral neurons only, suggesting there are independent CPGs in each hemiganglion. The cerebral and buccal CPGs interact at several points. For example, cerebral-to-buccal interneurons (CBIs), which can drive the buccal CPG, receive excitatory input when the cerebral CPG is active. Likewise, C15, which can drive the cerebral CPG, is excited when the buccal CPG is active. This excitation is simultaneous in both C15s, coupling the activity in the two hemiganglionic cerebral CPGs. Therefore, there are independent cerebral and buccal CPGs, which can produce distinct rhythms, but which interact at several points. Furthermore, the connections between the cerebral and buccal CPGs alter during different forms of motor program. We suggest that such alterations in the interactions between these CPGs might contribute to the generation of the various forms of coordination of lip and buccal mass movements that are necessary during different feeding-related behaviors.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)7030-7045
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of Neuroscience
    Issue number21
    StatePublished - 1 Nov 1996


    • Aplysia
    • central pattern generator
    • command neuron
    • coupled oscillators
    • feeding
    • motor program


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