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J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2006 Mar;192(3):235-45. Epub 2005 Oct 21.

Immunochemical and electrophysiological analyses of magnetically responsive neurons in the mollusc Tritonia diomedea.

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Friday Harbor Laboratories, University of Washington, 620 University Rd, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, USA.


Tritonia diomedea uses the Earth's magnetic field as an orientation cue, but little is known about the neural mechanisms that underlie magnetic orientation behavior in this or other animals. Six large, individually identifiable neurons in the brain of Tritonia (left and right Pd5, Pd6, Pd7) are known to respond with altered electrical activity to changes in earth-strength magnetic fields. In this study we used immunochemical, electrophysiological, and neuroanatomical techniques to investigate the function of the Pd5 neurons, the largest magnetically responsive cells. Immunocytochemical studies localized TPeps, neuropeptides isolated from Pd5, to dense-cored vesicles within the Pd5 somata and within neurites adjacent to ciliated foot epithelial cells. Anatomical analyses revealed that neurites from Pd5 are located within nerves innervating the ipsilateral foot and body wall. These results imply that Pd5 project to the foot and regulate ciliary beating through paracrine release. Electrophysiological recordings indicated that, although both LPd5 and RPd5 responded to the same magnetic stimuli, the pattern of spiking in the two cells differed. Given that TPeps increase ciliary beating and Tritonia locomotes using pedal cilia, our results are consistent with the hypothesis that Pd5 neurons control or modulate the ciliary activity involved in crawling during orientation behavior.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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