Repetition priming is characterized by increased performance as a behavior is repeated. Although this phenomenon is ubiquitous, mediating mechanisms are poorly understood. We address this issue in a model system, the feeding network of Aplysia. This network generates both ingestive and egestive motor programs. Previous data suggest a chemical coding model: ingestive and egestive inputs to the feeding central pattern generator (CPG) release different modulators, which act via different second messengers to prime motor activity in different ways. The ingestive input to the CPG (neuron CBI-2) releases the peptides FCAP and CP-2, which produce an ingestive pattern of activity. The egestive input to the CPG (the esophageal nerve, EN) releases the peptide SCP. This model is based on research that focused on a single aspect of motor control (radula opening). Here we ask whether repetition priming is observed if activity is triggered using a neuron within the core CPG itself, and demonstrate that it is not. Moreover, previous studies demonstrated that effects of modulatory neurotransmitters that induce repetition priming persist. This suggests that it should be possible to 'prime' motor programs triggered from within the CPG by first stimulating extrinsic modulatory inputs. We demonstrate that programs triggered after ingestive input activation are ingestive, and programs triggered after egestive input activation are egestive. We ask where this priming occurs, and demonstrate modifications within the CPG itself. This arrangement is likely to have important consequences for 'task' switching, i.e., the cessation of one type of motor activity and the initiation of another.
- Copyright © 2016, Journal of Neurophysiology