Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 7412
Title: NO/cGMP signaling and the flexible organization of motor behavior in crustaceans
Author: N. L. Scholz
Publication Year: 2001
Journal: American Zoologist
Volume: 41
Issue: 2
Pages: 292-303

The basic elements of the NO/cGMP signaling pathway have been identified in the nervous systems of animals from nearly all of the major phyla.  In crustaceans, the NO/cGMP pathway is associated with certain fundamental neuronal processes, including sensory integration and the organization and production of motor behavior.  Here I review the evidence for NO synthesis and action in crustacean neural networks, with an emphasis on the rhythmic motor circuits of the crab stomatogastric ganglion (STG).  In the STG, NO appears to be released as an orthograde transmitter from descending projection neurons.  NO's receptor, a cytopasmic isoform of guanylate cyclase (sGC), is expressed in a subset of the cells that participate in the gastric mill and pyloric central pattern generating networks.  In spontaneously-active, in vitro preparations of the STG, pharmacological inhibitors of the NO/cGMP pathway cause the two rhythmic motor patterns to collapse into a single conjoint rhythm.  Parallel motor output is restored when the ganglion is returned to normal saline.  Although precise mechanisms have yet to be determined, these data suggest that NO and cGMP play an important role in the functional organization of STG networks.  The STG, as well as other crustacean models, provides a promising context for studying the physiological and behavioral aspects of NO-mediated signaling in the nervous system.

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