Title

Electric organ discharge diversity in the genus Gymnotus: anatomo-functional groups and electrogenic mechanisms

Authors

Authors

A. Rodriguez-Cattaneo; P. Aguilera; E. Cilleruelo; W. G. R. Crampton;A. A. Caputi

Comments

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Abbreviated Journal Title

J. Exp. Biol.

Keywords

fixed motor pattern; evolution; signal diversity; electrocyte; coordination; excitability; WAVE-FORM GENERATION; FREQUENCY-RESPONSE CHARACTERISTICS; ELECTROPHYSIOLOGICAL PROPERTIES; BRACHYHYPOPOMUS-PINNICAUDATUS; TUBEROUS; ELECTRORECEPTORS; FISH GYMNOTOIDEI; PULSE DISCHARGE; CARAPO; GYMNOTIFORMES; ELECTROCYTES; Biology

Abstract

Previous studies describe six factors accounting for interspecific diversity of electric organ discharge (EOD) waveforms in Gymnotus. At the cellular level, three factors determine the locally generated waveforms: (1) electrocyte geometry and channel repertoire; (2) the localization of synaptic contacts on electrocyte surfaces; and (3) electric activity of electromotor axons preceding the discharge of electrocytes. At the organismic level, three factors determine the integration of the EOD as a behavioral unit: (4) the distribution of different types of electrocytes and specialized passive tissue forming the electric organ (EO); (5) the neural mechanisms of electrocyte discharge coordination; and (6) post-effector mechanisms. Here, we reconfirm the importance of the first five of these factors based on comparative studies of a wider diversity of Gymnotus than previously investigated. Additionally, we report a hitherto unseen aspect of EOD diversity in Gymnotus. The central region of the EO (which has the largest weight on the conspecific-received field) usually exhibits a negative-positive-negative pattern where the delay between the early negative and positive peaks (determined by neural coordination mechanisms) matches the delay between the positive and late negative peaks (determined by electrocyte responsiveness). Because delays between peaks typically determine the peak power frequency, this matching implies a co-evolution of neural and myogenic coordination mechanisms in determining the spectral specificity of the intraspecific communication channel. Finally, we define four functional species groups based on EO/EOD structure. The first three exhibit a heterogeneous EO in which doubly innervated electrocytes are responsible for a main triphasic complex. Group I species exhibit a characteristic cephalic extension of the EO. Group II species exhibit an early positive component of putative neural origin, and strong EO auto-excitability. Group III species exhibit an early, slow, negative wave of abdominal origin, and variation in EO auto-excitability. Representatives of Group IV generate a unique waveform comprising a main positive peak followed by a small, load-dependent negative component.

Journal Title

Journal of Experimental Biology

Volume

216

Issue/Number

8

Publication Date

1-1-2013

Document Type

Article

Language

English

First Page

1501

Last Page

1515

WOS Identifier

WOS:000316797600024

ISSN

0022-0949

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