Ultrastructural correlates of interneuronal function in the abdominal ganglion of Aplysia californica

Rhanor Gillette, Bruce Pomeranz

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The synaptic inputs and outputs of the major interneuron L10 of the abdominal ganglion of Aplysia were studied using an intracellular staining technique for the electron microscope. The sites of both the chemical synaptic input and output of L10 are localized to the dendritic arborizations that arise from the axon in the ganglion neuropil. Thus, the interneuronal functions are mediated at the dendritic processes and could occur in the absence of spiking in the axon and cell body. The sites of L10 synaptic output are presumed to be at. aggregations of vesicles and mitochondria in the dendrites. The synaptic vesicle content of L10, a cholinergic neuron, with many large dense vesicles resembles that described for serotonergic cells in Aplysia, making distinction of synaptic pharmacology by ultrastructure difficult. Focal membrane specializations with a clear synaptic cleft were not observed between L10 and its large population of postsynaptic cells. In contrast, clear focal input sites were frequently found on L10. Gap junctions, sites of probable electrical coupling between L10 and other neurons, were also found. These observations are discussed as evidence that many synapses do not have focal specializations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-474
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neurobiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1975
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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