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The American lobster, Homarus americanus, cardiac neuromuscular system is controlled by the cardiac ganglion (CG), a central pattern generator consisting of four premotor and five motor neurons. Here, we show that the premotor and motor neurons can establish independent bursting patterns when decoupled by a physical ligature. We also show that mRNA encoding myosuppressin, a cardioactive neuropeptide, is produced within the CG. We thus asked whether myosuppressin modulates the decoupled premotor and motor neurons, and if so, how this modulation might underlie the role(s) that these neurons play in myosuppressin's effects on ganglionic output. Although myosuppressin exerted dose-dependent effects on burst frequency and duration in both premotor and motor neurons in the intact CG, its effects on the ligatured ganglion were more complex, with different effects and thresholds on the two types of neurons. These data suggest that the motor neurons are more important in determining the changes in frequency of the CG elicited by low concentrations of myosuppressin, whereas the premotor neurons have a greater impact on changes elicited in burst duration. A single putative myosuppressin receptor (MSR-I) was previously described from the Homarus nervous system. We identified four additional putative MSRs (MSR-II-V) and investigated their individual distributions in the CG premotor and motor neurons using RT-PCR. Transcripts for only three receptors (MSR-II-IV) were amplified from the CG. Potential differential distributions of the receptors were observed between the premotor and motor neurons; these differences may contribute to the distinct physiological responses of the two neuron types to myosuppressin. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Premotor and motor neurons of the Homarus americanus cardiac ganglion (CG) are normally electrically and chemically coupled, and generate rhythmic bursting that drives cardiac contractions; we show that they can establish independent bursting patterns when physically decoupled by a ligature. The neuropeptide myosuppressin modulates different aspects of the bursting pattern in these neuron types to determine the overall modulation of the intact CG. Differential distribution of myosuppressin receptors may underlie the observed responses to myosuppressin.