The ultrastructure and electrophysiological properties of neurons in the abdominal (visceral) ganglion of the marine opisthobranch gastropod Aplysia brasiliana have been investigated to determine whether this preparation compares favorably with the well studied A. californica for neurobiological research. In general, the topography, morphology and physiological characteristics, including synaptic connections, of neurons in this ganglion are quite similar to those of A. californica. There is close correspondence between the two animals in terms of each of the identified cells or neuronal clusters in the ganglion, including the presence of the cell L10 (interneuron I) in A. brasiliana which makes synaptic connections comparable with those in A. californica. New follower cells of this interneuron have been found in A. brasiliana. This species offers some advantages in that the connective tissue surrounding the ganglion is thinner and more transparent, making cell identification and penetration easier. A. brasiliana appears to exhibit the behaviors of A. californica that have been used in previous functional analyses of neural circuits. In addition, this species swims and exhibits a „burrowing” activity less commonly seen in A. californica. The rich repertoire of behaviors and accessibility of large identifiable and functionally interconnected neurons makes this species of Aplysia an excellent model preparation for future neurobiological studies. Similar, less thorough, investigations of the abdominal ganglion of A. dactylomela indicate that this species is also very similar to A. californica in terms of the identified cells in the abdominal ganglion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience