Successful and unsuccessful attempts to swallow in a reduced Aplysia preparation regulate feeding responses and produce memory at different neural sites

Jeffrey M. McManus, Hillel J. Chiel, Abraham J. Susswein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Sensory feedback shapes ongoing behavior and may produce learning and memory. Motor responses to edible or inedible food in a reduced Aplysia preparation were examined to test how sensory feedback affects behavior and memory. Feeding patterns were initiated by applying a cholinomimetic onto the cerebral ganglion. Feedback from buccal muscles increased the response variability and response rate. Repeated application of the cholinomimetic caused decreased responses, expressed in part by lengthening protractions. Swallowing strips of "edible" food, which in intact animals induces learning that enhances ingestion, increased the response rate, and shortened the protraction length, reflecting more swallowing. Testing memory by repeating the procedure prevented the decrease in response rate observed with the cholinomimetic alone, and shortened protractions. Training with "inedible" food that in intact animals produces learning expressed by decreased responses caused lengthened protractions. Testing memory by repeating the procedure did not cause decreased responses or lengthened protractions. After training and testing with edible or inedible food, all preparations were exposed to the cholinomimetic alone. Preparations previously trained with edible food displayed memory expressed as decreased protraction length. Preparations previously trained with inedible food showed decreases in many response parameters. Memory for inedible food may arise in part via a postsynaptic decrease in response to acetylcholine released by afferents sensing food. The lack of change in response number, and in the time that responses are maintained during the two training sessions preceding application of the cholinomimetic alone suggests that memory expression may differ from behavioral changes during training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-165
Number of pages15
JournalLearning and Memory
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. All rights reserved.


The research was supported by Israel Science Foundation Grants 1379/12 and 2396/18, U.S.–Israel Binational Science Foundation Grant No. 2017624, and NSF-IOS-BSF Grant 1754869.

FundersFunder number
U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation2017624
National Science Foundation1754869
Israel Science Foundation2396/18, 1379/12


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