Letter | Published:

A switch between two modes of synaptic transmission mediated by presynaptic inhibition

Nature volume 378, pages 502505 (30 November 1995) | Download Citation

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Abstract

PRESYNAPTIC inhibition reduces chemical synaptic transmission in the central nervous system between pairs of neurons1–4, but its role(s) in shaping the multisynaptic interactions underlying neural network activity are not well studied. We therefore used the crustacean stomatogastric nervous system to study how presynaptic inhibition of the identified projection neuron, modulatory commissural neuron 1 (MGN1), influences the MCN1 synaptic effects on the gastric mill neural network. Tonic MCN1 discharge excites gastric mill network neurons and activates the gastric mill rhythm5,6. One network neuron, the lateral gastric (LG) neuron, presynaptically inhibits MCN1 and is electrically coupled to its terminals5,6. We show here that this presynaptic inhibition selectively reduces or eliminates transmitter-mediated excitation from MCN1 without reducing its electrically mediated excitatory effects, thereby switching the network neurons excited by MCN1. By switching the type of synaptic output from MCN1 and, hence, the activated network neurons, this presynaptic inhibition is pivotal to motor pattern generation.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. University of Alabama at Birmingham, Department of Physiology and Biophysics and Neurobiology Research Center, 1719 6th Avenue South, Birmingham, Alabama 35294, USA

    • Melissa J. Coleman
    •  & Michael P. Nusbaum
  2. University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience, 215 Stemmler Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA

    • Melissa J. Coleman
    •  & Michael P. Nusbaum
  3. Laboratoire de Neurobiologie et Physiologie Comparées, Université de Bordeaux I et CNRS, Place du Dr. Peyneau, 33120 Arcachon, France

    • Pierre Meyrand
  4. Present address: Department of Biology, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts 02254, USA

    • Melissa J. Coleman
  5. To whom correspondence should be addressed

    • Michael P. Nusbaum

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https://doi.org/10.1038/378502a0

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