Regulation and restoration of motoneuronal synaptic transmission during neuromuscular regeneration in the pulmonate snail Helisoma trivolvis. Academic Article uri icon


  • Regeneration of motor systems involves reestablishment of central control networks, reinnervation of muscle targets by motoneurons, and reconnection of neuromodulatory circuits. Still, how these processes are integrated as motor function is restored during regeneration remains ill defined. Here, we examined the mechanisms underlying motoneuronal regeneration of neuromuscular synapses related to feeding movements in the pulmonate snail Helisoma trivolvis. Neurons B19 and B110, although activated during different phases of the feeding pattern, innervate similar sets of muscles. However, the percentage of muscle fibers innervated, the efficacy of excitatory junction potentials, and the strength of muscle contractions were different for each cell's specific connections. After peripheral nerve crush, a sequence of transient electrical and chemical connections formed centrally within the buccal ganglia. Neuromuscular synapse regeneration involved a three-phase process: the emergence of spontaneous synaptic transmission (P1), the acquisition of evoked potentials of weak efficacy (P2), and the establishment of functional reinnervation (P3). Differential synaptic efficacy at muscle contacts was recapitulated in cell culture. Differences in motoneuronal presynaptic properties (i.e., quantal content) were the basis of disparate neuromuscular synapse function, suggesting a role for retrograde target influences. We propose a homeostatic model of molluscan motor system regeneration. This model has three restoration events: (1) transient central synaptogenesis during axonal outgrowth, (2) intermotoneuronal inhibitory synaptogenesis during initial neuromuscular synapse formation, and (3) target-dependent regulation of neuromuscular junction formation.

published proceedings

  • Biol Bull

author list (cited authors)

  • Turner, M. B., Szabo-Maas, T. M., Poyer, J. C., & Zoran, M. J.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Turner, MB||Szabo-Maas, TM||Poyer, JC||Zoran, MJ

publication date

  • August 2011