The Complement of Projection Neurons Activated Determines the Type of Feeding Motor Program in Aplysia

Colin G. Evans, Michael A. Barry, Jian Jing, Matthew H. Perkins, Klaudiusz R. Weiss, Elizabeth C. Cropper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Multiple projection neurons are often activated to initiate behavior. A question that then arises is, what is the unique functional role of each neuron activated? We address this issue in the feeding system of Aplysia. Previous experiments identified a projection neuron [cerebral buccal interneuron 2 (CBI-2)] that can trigger ingestive motor programs but only after it is repeatedly stimulated, i.e., initial programs are poorly defined. As CBI-2 stimulation continues, programs become progressively more ingestive (repetition priming occurs). This priming results, at least in part, from persistent actions of peptide cotransmitters released from CBI-2. We now show that in some preparations repetition priming does not occur. There is no clear seasonal effect; priming and non-priming preparations are encountered throughout the year. CBI-2 is electrically coupled to a second projection neuron, cerebral buccal interneuron 3 (CBI-3). In preparations in which priming does not occur, we show that ingestive activity is generated when CBI-2 and CBI-3 are coactivated. Programs are immediately ingestive, i.e., priming is not necessary, and a persistent state is not induced. Our data suggest that dynamic changes in the configuration of activity can vary and be determined by the complement of projection neurons that trigger activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number685222
JournalFrontiers in Neural Circuits
StatePublished - 10 Jun 2021


  • Aplysia
  • central pattern generators
  • command neuron
  • feeding
  • mollusc


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