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Motor Systems 

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date: 29 January 2020

This chapter discusses the central pattern generator (CPG) that underlies the rhythmic swimming behavior of the mollusc, Tritonia. This CPG is composed three identified neuron types. Homologous neurons are present even in species with different behaviors; implications for the evolution of the circuit are discussed. In Tritonia, the CPG produces a motor pattern when activated by sensory input. Modeling and electrophysiological studies indicate that the CPG is a network oscillator; the bursting activity arises through the interactions of the CPG neurons. Intrinsic to the neural circuit are identified serotonergic neurons that modulate the strength of connections made by other neurons in the CPG. The neuromodulation exhibits state- and timing-dependence; the serotonergic neuron can have opposite effects on synaptic strength depending upon the state of the synapse and when the serotonergic neuron is active. This neuromodulation is likely to play a role in motor pattern generation.

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