SICB Annual Meeting 2011
January 3-7, 2011
Salt Lake City, UT

Symposium: I've Got Rhythm: Neuronal Mechanisms of Central Pattern Generators

Symposium Overview

Rhythmic motor patterns such as breathing, chewing, swimming, walking and flying are driven by synaptically connected networks of neurons in the central nervous systems of invertebrate and vertebrate animals. Analysis of these central pattern generators (CPGs) has been a major focus of work for neurobiologists over the past four decades. Much has been discovered, yet much remains to be discovered regarding the specific details and general principles of CPG organization. While the synaptic organization of some CPGs is well-described (e.g., the network that drives leech heartbeat), other CPGs are less well-understood at the synaptic level (e.g., the spinal CPG for locomotion in mammals). In addition, new discoveries are stimulating re-examination of some of the invertebrate systems thought to be largely "done". There is also an emerging area of comparative neurobiology in those systems that are fairly well described, such as pulmonate gastropod feeding.

The purpose of this symposium is to bring together researchers who study a variety of motor patterns (locomotion, feeding, breathing) across a phyletic diversity of animals. The comparison of CPGs across these two dimensions is likely to yield significant patterns that would not be discerned by examination of any single phylum or in any single behavior. It is hoped that the exchange of information and ideas in this symposium will lead toward better understanding of the neural mechanisms that are shared among CPGs, and also toward understanding (or at least wondering) why some features are not shared.

The participants in the symposium have been selected for their interest in the fundamental organization of CPGs; that is, the ionic currents across the membranes of pattern-generating neurons and the synaptic connections between those neurons.


This symposium is sponsored by the American Microscopical Society, The National Science Foundation, and by the following divisions within SICB: DNB, DAB, and DCPB.

Symposium Organizer

Duane McPherson (SUNY at Geneseo)

Symposium Speakers

S1.1 Tuesday, Jan. 4, 08:00 CALABRESE, Ronald L: Coping with Variability in Small Neuronal Networks

S1.2 Tuesday, Jan. 4, 08:30 LI, W.*; ROBERTS, A; SOFFE, S.R.: Brainstem neurons switch each other into pacemaker mode to drive movement by activating NMDARs

S1.3 Tuesday, Jan. 4, 09:00 BERKOWITZ, A.*; HAO, Z.-Z.: Spinal Circuits That Generate Multiple Kinds of Rhythmic Limb Movements in Turtles

S1.4 Tuesday, Jan. 4, 09:30 MULLONEY, B.*; SMARANDACHE, C.R.: Passing Phases: Structure of a neural circuit that couples modular neural oscillators

S1.5 Tuesday, Jan. 4, 10:30 QUINLAN, K.A.*; HECKMAN, C.J.: Persistent inward currents in mouse spinal motoneurons: subcellular origins, postnatal development and neuropathology.

S1.6 Tuesday, Jan. 4, 11:00 BUCHANAN, J.T.: Flexibility in the patterning and control of axial locomotor networks in lamprey

S1.7 Tuesday, Jan. 4, 11:30 RAMAKRISHNAN, S; YASHINA, I; MURPHY, A/D*: Forty years of gastropod feeding: multiple buccal motor patterns but conservation of apparently homologous neuronal circuitry in rasping heterobranchs.

S1.8 Tuesday, Jan. 4, 13:00 RAMIREZ, JM*; ZANELLA, S; GARCIA III, AJ; KOCH, H; DOI, A: Neuronal Control of Breathing: Rhythms within Rhythms, Networks within Networks.

S1.9 Tuesday, Jan. 4, 13:30 GOSGNACH, Simon: The role of genetically-defined lamina VIII interneurons in generating the mammalian┬álocomotor rhythm.

S1.10 Tuesday, Jan. 4, 14:00 ZHONG, Guisheng GZ*; HUSCH , Andreas AH; HARRIS-WARRICK, Ronald RMH: The frequency dependent recruitment of interneurons in the rodent spinal cord

S1.11 Tuesday, Jan. 4, 14:30 , : Discussion