A population of pedal-buccal projection neurons associated with appetitive components of Aplysia feeding behavior. uri icon


  • Backfills of the cerebral-buccal connective (CBC) of Aplysia californica revealed a cluster of five to seven pedal-buccal projection neurons in the anterolateral quadrant of the ventral surface of each pedal ganglion. Intra- and extracellular recordings showed that the pedal-buccal projection neurons shared common electrophysiological properties and synaptic inputs. However, they exhibited considerable heterogeneity with respect to their projection patterns. All pedal-buccal projection neurons that were tested received a slow excitatory postsynaptic potential from the ipsi- and contralateral cerebral-pedal regulator (C-PR) neuron, a cell that is thought to play a key role in the generation of a food-induced arousal state. Tests were conducted to identify potential synaptic follower neurons of the pedal-buccal projection neurons in the cerebral and buccal ganglia, but none were detected. Finally, nerve recordings revealed projections from the pedal-buccal projection neurons in the nerves associated with the buccal ganglion. In tests designed to determine the functional properties of these peripheral projections, no evidence was obtained supporting a mechanosensory or proprioceptive role and no movements were observed when they were fired. It is proposed that peripheral elements utilized in consummatory phases of Aplysia feeding may be directly influenced by a neuronal pathway that is activated during the food-induced arousal state.

publication date

  • March 2003