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Keith SILLAR“Locomotor rhythm generation in a simple vertebrate system – swimming in frog tadpoles”

Abstract :

n this talk I will review current knowledge on the neural circuit that generates rhythmic swimming behaviour in Xenopus laevis frog tadpoles. This has been a valuable model system in which to reveal general principles in vertebrate motor control and it is one of the best understood neural circuits in the animal kingdom. I will cover the initiation of swimming, the maintenance of the locomotor rhythm and how it is terminated. I will also discuss how the circuit is modified and how its output is adapted during development. Finally, I will introduce some new data on a novel form of short term motor memory in which previous network performance dictates future network output.

Selected publications

Zhang, HY , Issberner, JP & Sillar, KT 2011, ' Development of a spinal locomotor rheostat ', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , vol 108, no. 28, pp. 11674-11679.

Miles, GB & Sillar, KT 2011, ' Neuromodulation of vertebrate locomotor control networks ', Physiology , vol 26, no. 6, pp. 393-411.

Robertson , R, Bjornfors, ER & Sillar, KT 2010, ' Long-lasting effects of chemical hypoxia on spinal cord function in tadpoles ', Neuroreport , pp. 943-947.
Sillar, KT & Robertson , R 2009, ' Thermal activation of escape swimming in Xenopus frog tadpole ', Journal of Experimental Biology , vol 15, pp. 2356-2364.

Kyriakatos, A, Molinari, MA, Grillner, S , Sillar, KT & El Manira, A 2009, ' Nitric oxide potentiation of locomotor activity in the spinal cord of the lamprey ', Journal of Neuroscience , vol 29, pp. 13283-13291.

Scientific focus :

Neural Control of Locomotion

Research in this laboratory exploits the advantages of a simple vertebrate model, pre-feeding Xenopus laevis tadpoles, to explore the neural mechanisms underlying the development and intrinsic modulation of locomotion. Our interests are in both the generation of rhythmic motor patterns and the integration of cutaneous sensory inputs to the spinal cord.

Abdelhamid Benazzouz et Daniel Cattaert