The American lobster, Homarus americanus, cardiac neuromuscular system is controlled by the cardiac ganglion (CG), a central pattern generator consisting of four premotor and five motor neurons. Here, we show that the premotor and motor neurons can establish independent bursting patterns when decoupled by a physical ligature. We also show that mRNA encoding myosuppressin, a cardioactive neuropeptide, is produced within the CG. We thus asked whether myosuppressin modulates the decoupled premotor and motor neurons, and if so, how this modulation might underlie the role(s) that these neurons play in myosuppressin’s effects on ganglionic output. Although myosuppressin exerted dose-dependent effects on burst frequency and duration in both premotor and motor neurons in the intact CG, its effects on the ligatured ganglion were more complex, with different effects and thresholds on the two types of neurons. These data suggest that the motor neurons are more important in determining the changes in frequency of the CG elicited by low concentrations of myosuppressin, whereas the premotor neurons have a greater impact on changes elicited in burst duration. A single putative myosuppressin receptor (MSR-I) was previously described from the Homarus nervous system. We identified four additional putative MSRs (MSR-II–V) and investigated their individual distributions inmore »
Anatomy and activity patterns in a multifunctional motor neuron and its surrounding circuits
Dorsal Excitor motor neuron DE-3 in the medicinal leech plays three very different dynamical roles in three different behaviors. Without rewiring its anatomical connectivity, how can a motor neuron dynamically switch roles to play appropriate roles in various behaviors? We previously used voltage-sensitive dye imaging to record from DE-3 and most other neurons in the leech segmental ganglion during (fictive) swimming, crawling, and local-bend escape (Tomina and Wagenaar, 2017). Here, we repeated that experiment, then re-imaged the same ganglion using serial blockface electron microscopy and traced DE-3’s processes. Further, we traced back the processes of DE-3’s presynaptic partners to their respective somata. This allowed us to analyze the relationship between circuit anatomy and the activity patterns it sustains. We found that input synapses important for all the behaviors were widely distributed over DE-3’s branches, yet that functional clusters were different during (fictive) swimming vs. crawling.
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Isoforms of the neuropeptide myosuppressin differentially modulate the cardiac neuromuscular system of the American lobster, Homarus americanusPost-translational modifications (PTMs) diversify peptide structure and allow for greater flexibility within signaling networks. The cardiac neuromuscular system of the American lobster, Homarus americanus, is made up of a central pattern generator, the cardiac ganglion (CG), and peripheral cardiac muscle. Together, these components produce flexible output in response to peptidergic modulation. Here, we examined the role of PTMs in determining the effects of a cardioactive neuropeptide, myosuppressin (pQDLDHVFLRFamide), on the whole heart, the neuromuscular junction/muscle, the isolated CG, and the neurons of the CG. Mature myosuppressin and noncyclized myosuppressin (QDLDHVFLRFamide) elicited similar and significant changes in whole heart contraction amplitude and frequency, stimulated muscle contraction amplitude and the bursting pattern of the intact and ligatured neurons of the ganglion. In the whole heart, nonamidated myosuppressin (pQDLDHVFLRFG) elicited only a small decrease in frequency and amplitude. In the absence of motor neuron input, nonamidated myosuppressin did not cause any significant changes in the amplitude of stimulated contractions. In the intact CG, nonamidated myosuppressin elicited a small but significant decrease in burst duration. Further analysis revealed a correlation between the extent of modulation elicited by nonamidated myosuppressin in the whole heart and the isolated, intact CG. When the neurons of the CGmore »
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