Main Menu (Mobile)- Block
Main Menu - Block
The stomatogastric ganglion (STG) of the crab Cancer productus contains approximately 30 neurons arrayed into two different networks (gastric mill and pyloric), each of which produces a distinct motor pattern in vitro. Here we show that the functional division of the STG into these two networks requires intact NO-cGMP signaling. Multiple nitric oxide synthase (NOS)-like proteins are expressed in the stomatogastric nervous system, and NO appears to be released as an orthograde transmitter from descending inputs to the STG. The receptor of NO, a soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC), is expressed in a subset of neurons in both motor networks. When NO diffusion or sGC activation are blocked within the ganglion, the two networks combine into a single conjoint circuit. The gastric mill motor rhythm breaks down, and several gastric neurons pattern switch and begin firing in pyloric time. The functional reorganization of the STG is both rapid and reversible, and the gastric mill motor rhythm is restored when the ganglion is returned to normal saline. Finally, pharmacological manipulations of the NO-cGMP pathway are ineffective when descending modulatory inputs to the STG are blocked. This suggests that the NO-cGMP pathway may interact with other biochemical cascades to partition rhythmic motor output from the ganglion.