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J Neurosci. 2013 Feb 27;33(9):3786-98. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5371-12.2013.

Latent modulation: a basis for non-disruptive promotion of two incompatible behaviors by a single network state.

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Department of Neuroscience, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York 10029, USA.


Behavioral states often preferentially enhance specific classes of behavior and suppress incompatible behaviors. In the nervous system, this may involve upregulation of the efficacy of neural modules that mediate responses to one stimulus and suppression of modules that generate antagonistic or incompatible responses to another stimulus. In Aplysia, prestimulation of egestive inputs [esophageal nerve (EN)] facilitates subsequent EN-elicited egestive responses and weakens ingestive responses to ingestive inputs [Cerebral-Buccal Interneuron (CBI-2)]. However, a single state can also promote incompatible behaviors in response to different stimuli. This is the case in Aplysia, where prestimulation of CBI-2 inputs not only enhances subsequent CBI-2-elicited ingestive responses, but also strengthens EN-elicited egestive responses. We used the modularly organized feeding network of Aplysia to characterize the organizational principles that allow a single network state to promote two opposing behaviors, ingestion and egestion, without the two interfering with each other. We found that the CBI-2 prestimulation-induced state upregulates the excitability of neuron B65 which, as a member of the egestive module, increases the strength of egestive responses. Furthermore, we found that this upregulation is likely mediated by the actions of the neuropeptides FCAP (Feeding Circuit Activating Peptide) and CP2 (Cerebral Peptide 2). This increased excitability is mediated by a form of modulation that we refer to as "latent modulation" because it is established during stimulation of CBI-2, which does not activate B65. However, when B65 is recruited into EN-elicited egestive responses, the effects of the latent modulation are expressed as a higher B65 firing rate and a resultant strengthening of the egestive response.

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