Two central pattern generators from the crab, Cancer borealis, respond robustly and differentially to extreme extracellular pH.
ABSTRACT: The activity of neuronal circuits depends on the properties of the constituent neurons and their underlying synaptic and intrinsic currents. We describe the effects of extreme changes in extracellular pH - from pH 5.5 to 10.4 - on two central pattern generating networks, the stomatogastric and cardiac ganglia of the crab, Cancer borealis. Given that the physiological properties of ion channels are known to be sensitive to pH within the range tested, it is surprising that these rhythms generally remained robust from pH 6.1 to pH 8.8. The pH sensitivity of these rhythms was highly variable between animals and, unexpectedly, between ganglia. Animal-to-animal variability was likely a consequence of similar network performance arising from variable sets of underlying conductances. Together, these results illustrate the potential difficulty in generalizing the effects of environmental perturbation across circuits, even within the same animal.
Project description:Gap junctions are intercellular channels that allow for the movement of small molecules and ions between the cytoplasm of adjacent cells and form electrical synapses between neurons. In invertebrates, the gap junction proteins are coded for by the innexin family of genes. The stomatogastric ganglion (STG) in the crab Cancer borealis contains a small number of identified and electrically coupled neurons. We identified Innexin 1 (Inx1), Innexin 2 (Inx2), Innexin 3 (Inx3), Innexin 4 (Inx4), Innexin 5 (Inx5), and Innexin 6 (Inx6) members of the C. borealis innexin family. We also identified six members of the innexin family from the lobster Homarus americanus transcriptome. These innexins show significant sequence similarity to other arthropod innexins. Using in situ hybridization and reverse transcriptase-quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR), we determined that all the cells in the crab STG express multiple innexin genes. Electrophysiological recordings of coupling coefficients between identified pairs of pyloric dilator (PD) cells and PD-lateral posterior gastric (LPG) neurons show that the PD-PD electrical synapse is nonrectifying while the PD-LPG synapse is apparently strongly rectifying.
Project description:How different are the neuronal circuits for a given behavior across individual animals? To address this question, we measured multiple cellular and synaptic parameters in individual preparations to see how they correlated with circuit function, using neurons and synapses in the pyloric circuit of the stomatogastric ganglion of the crab Cancer borealis. There was considerable preparation-to-preparation variability in the strength of two identified synapses, in the amplitude of a modulator-evoked current and in the expression of six ion channel genes. Nonetheless, we found strong correlations across preparations among these parameters and attributes of circuit performance. These data illustrate the importance of making multidimensional measurements from single preparations for understanding how variability in circuit output is related to the variability of multiple circuit parameters.
Project description:Locating circuit neurons and recording from them with single-cell resolution is a prerequisite for studying neural circuits. Determining neuron location can be challenging even in small nervous systems because neurons are densely packed, found in different layers, and are often covered by ganglion and nerve sheaths that impede access for recording electrodes and neuronal markers. We revisited the voltage-sensitive dye RH795 for its ability to stain and record neurons through the ganglion sheath. Bath-application of RH795 stained neuronal membranes in cricket, earthworm and crab ganglia without removing the ganglion sheath, revealing neuron cell body locations in different ganglion layers. Using the pyloric and gastric mill central pattern generating neurons in the stomatogastric ganglion (STG) of the crab, Cancer borealis, we found that RH795 permeated the ganglion without major residue in the sheath and brightly stained somatic, axonal and dendritic membranes. Visibility improved significantly in comparison to unstained ganglia, allowing the identification of somata location and number of most STG neurons. RH795 also stained axons and varicosities in non-desheathed nerves, and it revealed the location of sensory cell bodies in peripheral nerves. Importantly, the spike activity of the sensory neuron AGR, which influences the STG motor patterns, remained unaffected by RH795, while desheathing caused significant changes in AGR activity. With respect to recording neural activity, RH795 allowed us to optically record membrane potential changes of sub-sheath neuronal membranes without impairing sensory activity. The signal-to-noise ratio was comparable with that previously observed in desheathed preparations and sufficiently high to identify neurons in single-sweep recordings and synaptic events after spike-triggered averaging. In conclusion, RH795 enabled staining and optical recording of neurons through the ganglion sheath and is therefore both a good anatomical marker for living neural tissue and a promising tool for studying neural activity of an entire network with single-cell resolution.
Project description:In rhythmic motor systems, descending projection neuron inputs elicit distinct outputs from their target central pattern generator (CPG) circuits. Projection neuron activity is regulated by sensory inputs and inputs from other regions of the nervous system, relaying information about the current status of an organism. To gain insight into the organization of multiple inputs targeting a projection neuron, we used the identified neuron MCN1 in the stomatogastric nervous system of the crab, Cancer borealis. MCN1 originates in the commissural ganglion and projects to the stomatogastric ganglion (STG). MCN1 activity is differentially regulated by multiple inputs including neuroendocrine (POC) and proprioceptive (GPR) neurons, to elicit distinct outputs from CPG circuits in the STG. We asked whether these defined inputs are compact and spatially segregated or dispersed and overlapping relative to their target projection neuron. Immunocytochemical labeling, intracellular dye injection and three-dimensional (3D) confocal microscopy revealed overlap of MCN1 neurites and POC and GPR terminals. The POC neuron terminals form a defined neuroendocrine organ (anterior commissural organ: ACO) that utilizes peptidergic paracrine signaling to act on MCN1. The MCN1 arborization consistently coincided with the ACO structure, despite morphological variation between preparations. Contrary to a previous 2D study, our 3D analysis revealed that GPR axons did not terminate in a compact bundle, but arborized more extensively near MCN1, arguing against sparse connectivity of GPR onto MCN1. Consistent innervation patterns suggest that integration of the sensory GPR and peptidergic POC inputs occur through more distributed and more tightly constrained anatomical interactions with their common modulatory projection neuron target than anticipated.
Project description:Egg extracts of the African clawed frog Xenopus laevis have provided a cell-free system instrumental in elucidating events of the cell cycle, including mechanisms of spindle assembly. Comparison with extracts from the diploid Western clawed frog, Xenopus tropicalis, which is smaller at the organism, cellular and subcellular levels, has enabled the identification of spindle size scaling factors. We set out to characterize the Marsabit clawed frog, Xenopus borealis, which is intermediate in size between the two species, but more recently diverged in evolution from X. laevis than X. tropicalis. X. borealis eggs were slightly smaller than those of X. laevis, and slightly smaller spindles were assembled in egg extracts. Interestingly, microtubule distribution across the length of the X. borealis spindles differed from both X. laevis and X. tropicalis. Extract mixing experiments revealed common scaling phenomena among Xenopus species, while characterization of spindle factors katanin, TPX2, and Ran indicate that X. borealis spindles possess both X. laevis and X. tropicalis features. Thus, X. borealis egg extract provides a third in vitro system to investigate interspecies scaling and spindle morphometric variation.
Project description:Much work has explored animal-to-animal variability and compensation in ion channel expression. Yet, little is known regarding the physiological consequences of morphological variability. We quantify animal-to-animal variability in cable lengths (CV = 0.4) and branching patterns in the Gastric Mill (GM) neuron, an identified neuron type with highly-conserved physiological properties in the crustacean stomatogastric ganglion (STG) of Cancer borealis. We examined passive GM electrotonic structure by measuring the amplitudes and apparent reversal potentials (Erevs) of inhibitory responses evoked with focal glutamate photo-uncaging in the presence of TTX. Apparent Erevs were relatively invariant across sites (mean CV ± SD = 0.04 ± 0.01; 7-20 sites in each of 10 neurons), which ranged between 100-800 µm from the somatic recording site. Thus, GM neurons are remarkably electrotonically compact (estimated ? > 1.5 mm). Electrotonically compact structures, in consort with graded transmission, provide an elegant solution to observed morphological variability in the STG.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Massive forest decline has been observed almost everywhere as a result of negative anthropogenic and climatic effects, which can interact with pests, fungi and other phytopathogens and aggravate their effects. Climatic changes can weaken trees and make fungi, such as Armillaria more destructive. Armillaria borealis (Marxm. & Korhonen) is a fungus from the Physalacriaceae family (Basidiomycota) widely distributed in Eurasia, including Siberia and the Far East. Species from this genus cause the root white rot disease that weakens and often kills woody plants. However, little is known about ecological behavior and genetics of A. borealis. According to field research data, A. borealis is less pathogenic than A. ostoyae, and its aggressive behavior is quite rare. Mainly A. borealis behaves as a secondary pathogen killing trees already weakened by other factors. However, changing environment might cause unpredictable effects in fungus behavior. RESULTS:The de novo genome assembly and annotation were performed for the A. borealis species for the first time and presented in this study. The A. borealis genome assembly contained ~?68 Mbp and was comparable with ~?60 and ~?79.5 Mbp for the A. ostoyae and A. mellea genomes, respectively. The N50 for contigs equaled 50,544?bp. Functional annotation analysis revealed 21,969 protein coding genes and provided data for further comparative analysis. Repetitive sequences were also identified. The main focus for further study and comparative analysis will be on the enzymes and regulatory factors associated with pathogenicity. CONCLUSIONS:Pathogenic fungi such as Armillaria are currently one of the main problems in forest conservation. A comprehensive study of these species and their pathogenicity is of great importance and needs good genomic resources. The assembled genome of A. borealis presented in this study is of sufficiently good quality for further detailed comparative study on the composition of enzymes in other Armillaria species. There is also a fundamental problem with the identification and classification of species of the Armillaria genus, where the study of repetitive sequences in the genomes of basidiomycetes and their comparative analysis will help us identify more accurately taxonomy of these species and reveal their evolutionary relationships.
Project description:Neuropeptides (NPs), a unique and highly important class of signaling molecules across the animal kingdom, have been extensively characterized in the neuronal tissues of various crustaceans. Because many NPs are released into circulating fluid (hemolymph) and travel to distant sites in order to exhibit physiological effects, it is important to measure the secretion of these NPs from living animals. In this study, we report on extensive characterization of NPs released in the crab Cancer borealis by utilizing in vivo microdialysis to sample NPs from the hemolymph. We determined the necessary duration for collection of microdialysis samples, enabling more comprehensive identification of NP content while maintaining the temporal resolution of sampling. Analysis of in vivo microdialysates using a hybrid quadrupole-Orbitrap™ Q-Exactive mass spectrometer revealed that more than 50 neuropeptides from 9 peptide families-including the allatostatin, RFamide, orcokinin, tachykinin-related peptide and RYamide families - were released into the circulatory system. The presence of these peptides both in neuronal tissues as well as in hemolymph indicates their putative hormonal roles, a finding that merits further investigation. Preliminary quantitative measurement of these identified NPs suggested several potential candidates that maybe associated with the circadian rhythm in Cancer borealis.
Project description:Coordinated rhythmic movements are ubiquitous in animal behavior. In many organisms, chains of neural oscillators underlie the generation of these rhythms. In C. elegans, locomotor wave generation has been poorly understood; in particular, it is unclear where in the circuit rhythms are generated, and whether there exists more than one such generator. We used optogenetic and ablation experiments to probe the nature of rhythm generation in the locomotor circuit. We found that multiple sections of forward locomotor circuitry are capable of independently generating rhythms. By perturbing different components of the motor circuit, we localize the source of secondary rhythms to cholinergic motor neurons in the midbody. Using rhythmic optogenetic perturbation, we demonstrate bidirectional entrainment of oscillations between different body regions. These results show that, as in many other vertebrates and invertebrates, the C. elegans motor circuit contains multiple oscillators that coordinate activity to generate behavior.
Project description:Tachykinin-related peptide (TRP) refers to a large and structurally diverse family of neuropeptides found in vertebrate and invertebrate nervous systems. These peptides have various important physiological functions, from regulating stress in mammals to exciting the pyloric (food filtering) rhythm in the stomatogastric nervous system (STNS) of decapod crustaceans. Here, a novel TRP, which we named CalsTRP (Callinectes sapidus TRP), YPSGFLGMRamide (m/z 1026.52), was identified and de novo sequenced using a multifaceted mass spectrometry-based platform in both the central nervous system (CNS) and STNS of C. sapidus. We also found, using isotopic formaldehyde labeling, that CalsTRP in the C. sapidus brain and commissural ganglion (CoG) was up-regulated after food-intake, suggesting that TRPs in the CNS and STNS are involved in regulating feeding in Callinectes. Using imaging mass spectrometry, we determined that the previously identified CabTRP Ia (APSGFLGMRamide) and CalsTRP were co-localized in the C. sapidus brain. Lastly, our electrophysiological studies show that bath-applied CalsTRP and CabTRP Ia each activates the pyloric and gastric mill rhythms in C. sapidus, as shown previously for pyloric rhythm activation by CabTRP Ia in the crab Cancer borealis. In summary, the newly identified CalsTRP joins CabTRP Ia as a TRP family member in the decapod crustacean nervous system, whose actions include regulating feeding behavior.