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Nature. 1990 Mar 8;344(6262):155-8.

Neuropeptide fusion of two motor-pattern generator circuits.

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Biology Department, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine.


Animals make many different movements as circumstances dictate. These movements often involve the coordination of several neural networks, the output of which can be changed by modulatory substances. Here we report that the neuropeptide red pigment concentrating hormone modulates the interactions between two rhythmic pattern-generating networks in the lobster stomatogastric nervous system. Red pigment concentrating hormone markedly enhances the amplitude of synaptic interactions between elements of two pattern-generating networks--the cardiac sac and the gastric mill. Consequently, two networks operating under some circumstances virtually independently can be fused into one functional unit operating differently from either of the two original networks. These results show how a neuropeptide can alter the functional configuration of a neural network so that widely disparate outputs can be produced by the same neurons.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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