An anticipatory circuit modification that modifies subsequent task switching

Yanqing Wang, Michael A. Barry, Monica Cambi, Klaudiusz R. Weiss, Elizabeth C. Cropper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Modulators are generally expected to establish a network configuration that is appropriate for the current circumstances. We characterize a situation where the opposite is apparently observed. A network effect of a peptide modulator is counterproductive in that it tends to impede rather than promote the creation of the configuration that is appropriate when the modulator is released. This raises a question: Why does release occur? We present data that strongly suggest that it impacts task switching. Our experiments were conducted in an Aplysia feeding network that generates egestive and ingestive motor programs. Initial experiments focused on egestive activity and the neuron B8. As activity becomes egestive, there is an increase in synaptic drive to B8 and its firing frequency increases (Wang et al., 2019). We show that, as this occurs, there is also a persistent current that develops in B8 that is outward rather than inward. Dynamic clamp introduction of this current decreases excitability. When there is an egestive-ingestive task switch in Aplysia, negative biasing is observed (i.e., a bout of egestive activity has a negative impact on a subsequent attempt to initiate an ingestive response) (Proekt et al., 2004). Using an in vitro analog of negative biasing, we demonstrate that the outward current that develops during egestive priming plays an important role in establishing this phenomenon. Our data suggest that, although the outward current induced as activity becomes egestive is counterproductive at the time, it plays an anticipatory role in that it subsequently impacts task switching.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2152-2163
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number10
StatePublished - 10 Mar 2021


  • Aplysia
  • Dynamic clamp
  • Feeding
  • Mollusc
  • Outward current


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