Similarities and differences in circuit responses to applied Gly 1 -SIFamide and peptidergic (Gly 1 -SIFamide) neuron stimulation. J Neurophysiol 121: 950 –972, 2019. First published January 16, 2019; doi:10.1152/jn.00567.2018.—Microcircuit modulation by peptides is well established, but the cellular/synaptic mechanisms whereby identified neurons with identified peptide transmitters modulate microcircuits remain unknown for most systems. Here, we describe the distribution of GYRKPPFNGSIFamide (Gly 1 -SIFamide) immunoreactivity (Gly 1 -SIFamide-IR) in the stomatogastric nervous system (STNS) of the crab Cancer borealis and the Gly 1 -SIFamide actions on the two feeding-related circuits in the stomatogastric ganglion (STG). Gly 1 -SIFamide-IR localized to somata in the paired commissural ganglia (CoGs), two axons in the nerves connecting each CoG with the STG, and the CoG and STG neuropil. We identified one Gly 1 -SIFamide-IR projection neuron innervating the STG as the previously identified modulatory commissural neuron 5 (MCN5). Brief (~10 s) MCN5 stimulation excites some pyloric circuit neurons. We now find that bath applying Gly 1 -SIFamide to the isolated STG also enhanced pyloric rhythm activity and activated an imperfectly coordinated gastric mill rhythm that included unusually prolonged bursts in two circuit neurons [inferior cardiac (IC), lateral posterior gastric (LPG)]. Furthermore, longer duration (±30 s) MCN5 stimulation activated a Gly 1 -SIFamide-like gastric mill rhythm, including prolonged IC and LPG bursting. The prolonged LPG bursting decreased the coincidence of its activity with neurons to which it is electrically coupled. We also identified local circuit feedback onto the MCN5 axon terminals, which may contribute to some distinctions between the responses to MCN5 stimulation and Gly 1 -SIFamide application. Thus, MCN5 adds to the few identified projection neurons that modulate a well-defined circuit at least partly via an identified neuropeptide transmitter and provides an opportunity to study peptide regulation of electrical coupled neurons in a functional context. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Limited insight exists regarding how identified peptidergic neurons modulate microcircuits. We show that the modulatory projection neuron modulatory commissural neuron 5 (MCN5) is peptidergic, containing Gly 1 -SIFamide. MCN5 and Gly 1 -SIFamide elicit similar output from two well-defined motor circuits. Their distinct actions may result partly from circuit feedback onto the MCN5 axon terminals. Their similar actions include eliciting divergent activity patterns in normally coactive, electrically coupled neurons, providing an opportunity to examine peptide modulation of electrically coupled neurons in a functional context.
Blitz, Dawn M.; Christie, Andrew E.; Cook, Aaron P.; Dickinson, Patsy S.; and Nusbaum, Michael P., "Similarities and differences in circuit responses to applied Gly 1 -SIFamide and peptidergic (Gly 1 -SIFamide) neuron stimulation" (2019). Biology Faculty Publications. 61.