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J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2005 Apr;191(4):347-54. Epub 2004 Dec 22.

Long-lasting potentiation of excitatory synaptic signaling to the crayfish lateral giant neuron.

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Institute of Molecular Medicine, National Tsing Hua University, 101, Sec. 2, Kuang Fu Road, Hsinchu, 30013 Taiwan.


The neural circuit that underlies the lateral giant fiber (LG)-mediated reflex escape in crayfish has provided findings relating synaptic change to nonassociative learning such as sensitization and habituation. The LGs receive sensory inputs from the primary sensory afferents and a group of mechanosensory interneurons (MSIs). An increase of excitability by suprathreshold repetitive excitation of this circuit, which is similar to Hebbian long-term potentiation (LTP), has been reported. This potentiation was previously thought to result from the enhancement of transmission at cholinergic synapses between primary afferents and MSIs but not the electrical synapses onto LG. In this study, we found that potentiation of synaptic signaling at the electrical synapse onto LG can also be induced when the synapse was activated with subthreshold repetitive pulses or with a few strong suprathreshold shocks. LG LTP was induced in the preparation which had received pulses at limited frequency range. Although whether this LTP is involved in the learning process of escape behavior in crayfish is not clear, the intensity and amount of sensory stimulation used here mimicked those that could easily be produced by a predator trying to catch a crayfish and could be of adaptive significance in life.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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