Control of locomotion in marine mollusc Clione limacina. III. On the origin of locomotory rhythm

Exp Brain Res. 1985;58(2):273-84. doi: 10.1007/BF00235309.


Neurons from the isolated pedal ganglia of the marine mollusc Clione limacina were recorded from intracellularly during generation of the locomotory rhythm. Polarization of single type 7 or type 8 interneurons (which discharge in the D- and V-phases of a swim cycle, respectively) strongly affected activity of the rhythm generator. Injection of depolarizing and hyperpolarizing current usually resulted in shortening and lengthening of a swim cycle, respectively. A short pulse of hyperpolarizing current shifted the phase of the rhythmic generator. The same effect could be evoked by polarization of efferent neurons of types 2, 3 and 4 which are electrically coupled to interneurons. On the contrary, polarization of types 1, 6 and 10 efferent neurons, having no electrical connections with interneurons, did not affect the locomotory rhythm. A number of observations indicate that type 7 and 8 interneurons constitute the main source of postsynaptic potentials that were observed in all the "rhythmic" neurons of the pedal ganglia. Type 7 interneurons excited the D-phase neurons and inhibited the V-phase neurons; type 8 interneurons produced opposite effects. Tetrodotoxin eliminated spike generation in all efferent neurons of the pedal ganglia, while in interneurons spike generation persisted. After blocking the spike discharges in all the efferent neurons, type 7 and 8 interneurons were capable of generating alternating activity. One may conclude that these interneurons determine the main features of the swim pattern, i.e., the rhythmic alternating activity of two (D and V) populations of neurons. Both type 7 and type 8 interneurons were capable of endogenous rhythmic discharges with a period like that in normal swimming. This was demonstrated in experiments in which one of the two populations of "rhythmic" neurons (D or V) was inhibited by means of strong electrical hyperpolarization, as well as in experiments in which interaction between the two populations, mediated by chemical synapses, was blocked by Co2+ ions. Type 7 and 8 interneurons were capable of "rebound", i.e. they had a tendency to discharge after termination of inhibition. V-phase neurons exerted not only inhibitory but also excitatory action upon D-phase neurons, the excitatory action being longer than the inhibitory one. The main experimental findings correspond well to the model of rhythm generator consisting of two half-centres possessing endogenous rhythmic activity. The half-centres exert strong, short duration inhibitory and weak long duration excitatory actions upon one another. The behaviour of such a model is considered and compared with that of the locomotor generator of Clione.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ganglia / physiology*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Ion Channels / physiology
  • Locomotion*
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Models, Neurological
  • Mollusca / physiology*
  • Periodicity
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Synaptic Transmission


  • Ion Channels