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Mol Cells. 1997 Jun 30;7(3):399-407.

Partial anatomical and physiological characterization and dissociated cell culture of the nervous system of the marine mollusc Aplysia kurodai.

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Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, College of Natural Sciences, Seoul National University, Korea.


Snail nervous systems are powerful tools for neurobiological studies as the biophysical properties of the giant neurons and their neural circuits can be examined in relation to specific behaviors of animals. The marine mollusc Aplysia californica is particularly useful for analyzing the components of learning and memory at the molecular and cellular levels. Here we partially examined the nervous systems of two species (A. kurodai and A. juliana) commonly found along the Korean coast in comparison with that of A. californica, one of the American marine snails. A. kurodai appeared to be identical to A. californica in both anatomical and physiological properties of the nervous system. A. juliana could be distinguished from A. californica in certain morphological aspects of the nervous system. The hemolymph either from A. kurodai or from A. juliana was required for effectively elongating neurite outgrowth of A. kurodai neurons in dissociated cell culture. The cultured cells retained neuronal properties such as neurite outgrowth, synapse formation, and generation of action potentials. The sensory cells of A. kurodai in dissociated cultures showed a response to serotonin (5-HT) of spike broadening and enhanced membrane excitability as in intact ganglia. Therefore, the nervous system and dissociated neuronal culture of A. kurodai may be useful for studying learning and memory in the context-of well-defined neural circuits of A. californica.

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