Developmental emergence of different forms of neuromodulation in Aplysia sensory neurons

Emilie A. Marcus, Thomas J. Carew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The capacity for neuromodulation and biophysical plasticity is a defining feature of most mature neuronal cell types. In several cases, modulation at the level of the individual neuron has been causally linked to changes in the functional output of a neuronal circuit and subsequent adaptive changes in the organism's behavioral responses. Understanding how such capacity for neuromodulation develops therefore may provide insights into the mechanisms both of neuronal development and learning and memory. We have examined the development of multiple forms of neuromodulation triggered by a common neurotransmitter, serotonin, in the pleural sensory neurons of Aplysia californica. We have found that multiple signaling cascade within a single neuron develop sequentially, with some being expressed only very late in development. In addition, our data suggest a model in which, within a single neuromodulatory pathway, the elements of the signaling cascade are developmentally expressed in a 'retrograde' manner with the ionic channel that is modulated appearing early in development, functional elements in the second messenger cascade appearing later, and finally, coupling of the second messenger cascade to the serotonin receptor appearing quite late. These studies provide the characterization of the development of neuromodulation at the level of an identified cell type and offer insights into the potential roles of neuromodulatory processes in development and adult plasticity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4726-4731
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 14 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Developmental emergence of different forms of neuromodulation in Aplysia sensory neurons'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this