Foreign connections are formed in vitro by Aplysia californica interneuron L10 and its in vivo followers and non-followers
Journal of Experimental Biology
Aplysia californica interneurone L10 forms a set of presynaptic connections with many postsynaptic 'follower' cells in the abdominal ganglion. These followers do not connect back to L10. The present study tests whether the direction and sign of these connections are obligatory and are reconstructed when neuronal processes regenerate in vitro. L10 was co-cultured with one of six different followers and two non-followers. 1. In vitro connections that preserve the sign of those formed in vivo were
... formed in vivo were made by L10 onto neurones L11, L12 and L13. The connections consisted of inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs) with characteristic fast and slow components. 2. In vitro connections that did not preserve the sign of connections found in vivo were made by L10 onto R15, R16 and L7. Neurones R15 and R16 receive excitatory inputs from L10 in vivo and L7 receives a dual-action input in vivo, with inhibition followed by excitation. A purely inhibitory connection from L10 was formed in vitro onto all these cells. 3. Connections that have never been observed in vivo in terms of both direction and sign were formed in vitro. Followers L7, L11, L12, L13 and R16 and non-follower L14A formed novel connections onto L10. All these connections were inhibitory and some were strong. For example, IPSPs with a magnitude of 20 mV were observed in L10 following a single action potential in L13. Our results show that identified Aplysia neurones can form stereotyped specific connections in vitro. The specificity is different from that in the intact ganglion. The ubiquity of novel connections suggests that restrictions imposed on synaptogenesis in the animal are distinct from those regulating synapse formation in culture.