Mechanisms underlying pattern generation in lobster stomatogastric ganglion as determined by selective inactivation of identified neurons. III. Synaptic connections of electrically coupled pyloric neurons

J Neurophysiol. 1982 Dec;48(6):1392-1415. doi: 10.1152/jn.1982.48.6.1392.


1. The pyloric dilator (PD) and anterior burster (AB) neurons in the pyloric system of the lobster stomatogastric ganglion are electrically coupled and synchronously active. We have used the lucifer yellow photoinactivation technique to separate the connections made by the PD motor neurons from those made by the AB interneuron. 2. Photoinactivation of either the two PD neurons or the single AB neuron allowed us to separate the compound inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs) in the lateral pyloric (LP) and pyloric (PY) motor neurons resulting from synchronous PD and AB activity into AB-evoked and PD-evoked components. These IPSPs have different time courses, reversal potentials, ion selectivities, and pharmacological properties. 3. Photoinactivation and membrane-potential manipulations indicated that a readily observable IPSP recorded in the AB neuron and correlated with action potentials in the LP neuron is actually an electrotonic potential due to an LP-evoked IPSP in the PD neurons. 4. Selective inactivation of either the two PD neurons or the AB neuron revealed that the IPSP recorded in the ventricular dilator (VD) motor neuron is due solely to AB-released transmitter. 5. The electrical coupling potentials measurable between the AB, PD, and VD neuron somata are due to direct electrical coupling between all of these neurons. 6. Circuit analysis and transmitter identification may be complicated by electrical coupling. We suggest that the presence of electrical coupling between nonidentical neurons may provide a new mechanism that allows changes in synaptic characteristics among neurons within a "hard-wired" circuit.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electrophysiology
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Ganglia / physiology*
  • Interneurons / physiology
  • Light
  • Motor Neurons / physiology
  • Nephropidae / physiology*
  • Periodicity
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Synaptic Transmission