The calcium imaging method can detect the spike activities of many neurons simultaneously. In the present experiments, this method was used to search for unique neurons contributing to feeding behavior in the cerebral ganglia of Aplysia kurodai. We mainly explored the neurons whose cell hodies were located in the G cluster and the neuropile region posterior to this cluster on the ventral surface of the cerebral ganglia. When the extract of the food seaweed Ulva was applied to the tentacle-lip region, many neurons stained with a calcium-sensitive dye, Calcium Green-1, showed changes in fluorescence. Some neurons showed rhythmic responses and others showed transient responses, suggesting that these neurons may be partly involved in the feeding circuits. We also identified three motor neurons among these neurons that showed rhythmic fluorescence responses to the taste stimulation. One of them was a motor neuron shortening the anterior tentacle (ATS), and the other two were motor neurons producing lip opening-like (LOG) and closing-like (LCG) movements, respectively. Application of the Ulva extract to the tentacle-lip region induced phase-locked rhythmic firing activity in these motor neurons, suggesting that these neurons may contribute to the rhythmic patterned movements of the anterior tentacles and lips during the ingestion of seaweed.
- Calcium imaging
- Cerebral neurons
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience