Synaptic connections and functional organization in Aplysia buccal ganglia

J Neurobiol. 1979 Jan;10(1):13-29. doi: 10.1002/neu.480100103.


The buccal ganglion of Aplysia contains three morpho-functional groups (A, B, and C) of large cells and two groups (s1 and s2) of small cells. The A cells evoke monoxynaptic IPSPs in the B cells. We found that s1 cells can evoke large EPSPs in the A cells, IEPSPs in the B cells, and EIIPSPs in the C cells; several s1 cells are able to evoke all three types of responses. Many s2 cells can evoke these same responses, but only in the A and B cells. Furthermore, the s cells can evoke depolarizing PSPs in other s cells; this relation is often reciprocal. All these responses may also be contralateral. Their monosynaptic nature is shown by the consistent 1:1 relationship with the presynaptic spike, and also by the effects of intracellular tetraethylammonium and of high Mg2+ concentration in the bathing medium. d-tubocurarine reversibly suppresses the I phase of the IEPSP evoked by the s cells in the B cells. All the responses evoked by the s cells undergo depression with repetition. The network formed by all these relations is outlined, and a double relationship proposed between s cells and B cells. By electrophysiological tracing of axonal pathways it is shown that the A cells send axons into the 3rd buccal nerve, the B cells into the 2nd and/or 3rd buccal nerve and in two cases into the radular nerve, and the C cells into the gastro-oesophageal nerve. Spontaneous synaptic activity of the buccal neurons appears to be formed mostly by the described PSPs. Spontaneous firing inside the isolated ganglion corresponds well to the alternate pattern of muscular contractions of the buccal mass.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aplysia / cytology*
  • Cheek / innervation
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Ganglia / cytology*
  • Ganglia / drug effects
  • Ganglia / physiology
  • Magnesium / pharmacology
  • Neural Pathways
  • Synapses / cytology*
  • Synaptic Transmission


  • Magnesium