1. The pteropod mollusk Clione limacina is a predator, feeding on the small pteropod mollusk Limacina helicina. Injection of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) into the hemocoel of the intact Clione evoked some essential elements of the hunting and feeding behavior, i.e., protracting the tentacles, opening the mouth, and triggering the rhythmic movements of the buccal mass. This pattern resembled that evoked by presentation of the prey: Clione grasped the Limacina by its tentacles, extracted the prey's body from the shell and then swallowed it. 2. In electrophysiological experiments, several targets of GABA action have been found: 1) direct application of GABA to isolated cerebral motor neurons projecting to the protractor muscles of tentacles resulted in their excitation; 2) GABA activated the feeding rhythm generator located in the buccal ganglia; 3) GABA exerted excitatory or inhibitory effects on the receptor cells of statocysts, the effects being mediated by the efferent input to these cells; 4) GABA suppressed the defense reaction, which is an inhibition of the locomotor activity and of tentacle motor neurons, arising in response to stimulation of the head afferents; and 5) GABA potentiated an excitatory action of the serotoninergic metacerebral cells on the feeding rhythm generator. 3. Effects of GABA on the tentacle motor neurons and the feeding rhythm generator are pharmacologically distinguishable. The action of GABA on the feeding rhythm generator was mimicked by baclofen (which activates the GABAB receptors in mammalian neurons) and was not sensitive to bicuculline (the GABAA receptor antagonist in mammals). On the other hand, bicuculline competitively inhibited the GABA-induced excitation of the tentacle motor neurons. 4. GABAergic neurons have been located in the cerebral, pedal, and buccal ganglia by means of immunohistochemical methods.
- Copyright © 1993 the American Physiological Society