Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 173, Issue 5, pp 519–536 | Cite as

The timing of activity in motor neurons that produce radula movements distinguishes ingestion from rejection in Aplysia

  • D. W. Morton
  • H. J. Chiel
Original Articles


  1. 1.

    We have studied the neural circuitry mediating ingestion and rejection in Aplysia using a reduced preparation that produces ingestion-like and rejection-like motor patterns in response to physiological stimuli.

  2. 2.

    We have characterized 3 buccal ganglion motor neurons that produce specific movements of the radula and buccal mass. B8a and B8b act to close the radula. B10 acts to close the jaws and retract the radula.

  3. 3.

    The patterns of activity in these neurons can be used to distinguish the ingestion-like and rejection-like motor patterns. B8a, B8b and B10 are active together during the ingestion-like pattern. Activity in B8a and B8b ends prior to the onset of activity in B10 during the rejection-like pattern.

  4. 4.

    Our data suggest that these neurons undergo similar patterns of activity in vivo. During both feeding-like patterns, the activity and peripheral actions of B8a, B8b, and B10 are consistent with radula movements observed during ingestion and rejection. In addition, the extracellular activity produced by these neurons is consistent with neural activity observed in vivo during ingestion and rejection.

  5. 5.

    Our data suggest that the different activity patterns observed in these motor neurons contribute to the different radula movements that distinguish ingestion from rejection.


Key words

Aplysia Feeding Multifunctionality Pattern generation Motoneuron 



buccal nerve 2


radula nerve


excitatory junction current


small cardioactive peptide




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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. W. Morton
    • 1
  • H. J. Chiel
    • 2
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeuroscienceCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA

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