December 4, 2020

Primary and secondary motoneurons use different calcium channel types to control escape and swimming behaviors in zebrafish

The escape response and rhythmic swimming in zebrafish are distinct behaviors mediated by two functionally distinct motoneuron (Mn) types. The primary (1{ring}Mn) type depresses, has a large quantal content (Qc), and a high release probability (Pr). Conversely, the secondary (2{ring}Mn) type facilitates and has low and variable Qc and Pr. This functional duality matches well the distinct associated behaviors, with the 1{ring}Mn providing the strong, singular C-bend initiating escape and the 2{ring}Mn confers weaker, rhythmic contractions. Contributing to these functional distinctions is our identification of P/Q type calcium channels mediating transmitter release in 1{ring}Mns and N type channels in 2{ring}Mns. Remarkably, despite these functional and behavioral distinctions, all ~15 individual synapses on each muscle cell are shared by a 1{ring}Mn bouton and at least one 2{ring}Mn bouton. This novel blueprint of synaptic sharing provides an efficient way of controlling two different behaviors at the level of a single postsynaptic cell.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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