Mutually exclusive muscle designs: the power output of the locomotory and sonic muscles of the oyster toadfish (Opsanus tau). (1/75)

Animals perform a vast array of motor activities. Although it has generally been accepted that muscles are well suited to the function that they must perform, specialization for performing one function may compromise their ability for carrying out another. We examined this principle in the toadfish muscular system: slow-twitch red and fast-twitch white myotomal muscles are used for powering swimming at relatively low frequencies, while the superfast swimbladder muscle powers mating calls by contracting at 100 Hz. We measured muscle power output over a wide range of frequencies. The red and white locomotory muscles could not generate power over ca. 2.2 and 12 Hz, respectively and, hence, could not power sound production. In contrast, the swimbladder muscle has many specializations that permit it to generate power at frequencies in excess of 100 Hz. However, these specializations drastically reduce its power output at low frequencies: the swimbladder muscle generated only one-twentieth of the power of the red muscle and one-seventh of the power of the white muscle at the frequencies used during swimming. To generate the same total power needed for swimming would require unfeasibly large amounts of swimbladder muscle that could not fit into the fish. Hence, the designs of the swimbladder and locomotory muscles are mutually exclusive.  (+info)

Neural readaptation to Earth's gravity following return from space. (2/75)

The consequence of exposure to microgravity on the otolith organs was studied by recording the responses of vestibular nerve afferents supplying the utricular otolith organ to inertial accelerations in four toadfish, Opsanus tau, sequentially for 5 days following two National Aeronautics and Space Administration shuttle orbital flights. Within the first day postflight, the magnitude of response to an applied translation was on average three times greater than for controls. The reduced gravitational acceleration in orbit apparently resulted in an upregulation of the sensitivity of utricular afferents. By 30 h postflight, responses were statistically similar to control. The time course of return to normal afferent sensitivity parallels the reported decrease in vestibular disorientation in astronauts following return from space.  (+info)

Anatomical distribution and cellular basis for high levels of aromatase activity in the brain of teleost fish: aromatase enzyme and mRNA expression identify glia as source. (3/75)

Although teleost fish have higher levels of brain aromatase activity than any other vertebrate group, its function remains speculative, and no study has identified its cellular basis. A previous study determined aromatase activity in a vocal fish, the plainfin midshipman (Porichthys notatus), and found highest levels in the telencephalon and lower levels in the sonic hindbrain, which was dimorphic between and within (males) sexes. We have now localized aromatase-containing cells in the midshipman brain both by immunocytochemistry using teleost-specific aromatase antibodies and by in situ hybridization using midshipman-specific aromatase probes. Aromatase-immuno-reactivity and mRNA hybridization signal are consistent with relative levels of aromatase activity in different brain regions: concentrated in the dimorphic sonic motor nucleus, in a band just beneath the periaqueductal gray in the midbrain, in ventricular regions in the hypothalamus, and highest levels in the telencephalon especially in preoptic and ventricular areas. Surprisingly, double-label immunofluorescence does not show aromatase-immunoreactive colocalization in neurons, but instead in radial glia throughout the brain. This is the first study to identify aromatase expression mostly, if not entirely, in glial cells under normal rather than brain injury-dependent conditions. The abundance of aromatase in teleosts may represent an adaptation linked to continual neurogenesis that is known to occur throughout an individual's lifetime among fishes. The localization of aromatase within the intersexually and intrasexually dimorphic vocal-motor circuit further implies a function in the expression of alternative male reproductive phenotypes and, more generally, the development of natural, individual variation of specific brain nuclei.  (+info)

Relationship between inner-ear fluid pressure and semicircular canal afferent nerve discharge. (4/75)

The present study was designed to determine (1) the transcupular fluid pressure (deltaP) generated across the semicircular canal cupula in response to sinusoidal head rotation, (2) the translabyrinthine dilational pressure (P0) generated across the membranous labyrinth in response to an increase in endolymph fluid volume (hydrops), (3) afferent nerve discharge patterns generated by these distinct pressure stimuli and, (4) threshold values of deltaP and P0 required to elicit afferent neural responses. The experimental model was the oyster toadfish, Opsanus tau. Micromechanical indentation of the horizontal canal (HC) duct and utricular vestibule was used to simulate sinusoidal head rotation and fluid volume injection. Single-unit neural spike trains and endolymph pressure within the ampulla, on both sides of the cupula, were recorded simultaneously. deltaP averaged 0.013 Pa per 1 degrees/s of sinusoidal angular head velocity and P0 averaged 0.2 Pa per 1 nL of endolymph volume injection. The most responsive afferents had a threshold sensitivity to deltaP of 10(-3) Pa and to P0 of 5 x 10(-2) Pa based on a discharge modulation criterion of 1 impulse/s per cycle for 2 Hz pressure stimuli. Neural sensitivity to AP was expected on the basis of transverse cupular and hair bundle deflections. Analysis of mechanics of the end organ, neuronal projections into the crista, and individual neural firing patterns indicates that P0 sensitivity resulted from pressure-induced distension of the ampulla that led to a nonuniform cupular deformation pattern and hair bundle deflections. This explanation is consistent with predictions of a finite element model of the end organ. Results have implications regarding the role of deltaP in angular motion transduction and the role of P0 under transient hydropic conditions.  (+info)

Seasonal plasticity of peripheral auditory frequency sensitivity. (5/75)

Female midshipman fish (Porichthys notatus) use the auditory sense to detect and locate vocalizing males during the breeding season. Detection of conspecific vocal signals is essential to their reproductive success and can evoke strong phonotactic responses in gravid females but not in spent females that have released all of their eggs. Here, we test the hypothesis that seasonal variation in reproductive state affects the neurophysiological response properties of the peripheral auditory system in female midshipman fish. Iso-intensity responses of eighth nerve afferents from the sacculus, the main auditory end organ of the inner ear, to individual tones were measured for spike rate and vector strength (VS) of synchronization. Most auditory saccular units in reproductive, summer females showed robust temporal encoding up to 340 Hz, whereas nonreproductive winter females showed comparable encoding only up to 100 Hz. The dramatic upward shift in temporal encoding among summer fish was paralleled by increases in best frequency (BF), maximum evoked spike rate at BF, VS values at BF, and the percentage of units that showed significant VS to iso-intensity tones >140 Hz. Reproductive summer females were best suited to encode the higher harmonic components of male advertisement calls. This first demonstration of a natural cyclicity in peripheral auditory frequency sensitivity among vertebrates may represent, in this case, an adaptive plasticity of the female midshipman's auditory system to enhance the acquisition of auditory information needed for mate identification and localization during the breeding season.  (+info)

A second glutamine synthetase gene with expression in the gills of the gulf toadfish (Opsanus beta). (6/75)

We characterized the expression of the nitrogen metabolism enzyme glutamine synthetase [GSase; L-glutamate: ammonia ligase (ADP-forming), E.C. 6.3.1.2] in tissues of the gulf toadfish Opsanus beta subjected to unconfined (ammonotelic) and confined (ureotelic) conditions. Enzymological results demonstrate that mass-specific GSase activities rank in the order of brain > liver > stomach approximately kidney > intestine > gill > heart/spleen > muscle. When tissue mass is used to calculate a glutamine synthetic potential, the liver has the greatest, followed by muscle > stomach and intestine, with minor contributions from the remaining tissues. Additionally, during confinement stress, GSase activity increases significantly only in liver (fivefold) and muscle (twofold), tissues that previously showed significant expression of the other enzymes of urea synthesis. Western analyses of samples on SDS gels demonstrated that GSase-specific protein content reflected enzyme activity, and all tissues except muscle had a single, similarly sized GSase subunit of 49.4 kDa; muscle showed staining of two bands of 36.8 and 98.9 kDa, which may possibly result from another gene product or post-translational modification. RT-PCR and RACE-PCR revealed the presence of a second GSase cDNA from gill tissue that shares only 73% nucleotide and amino acid sequence similarity with the GSase cDNA previously cloned from liver, and that lacks a mitochondrial leader-targeting sequence. RT-PCR and restriction digestion experiments demonstrated that mRNA from the original 'liver' GSase is expressed in all tissues examined (liver, gill, stomach, intestine, kidney, brain and muscle), whereas the new 'gill' form shows expression primarily in the gill. Gill GSase activity shows apparently exclusive expression in the soluble compartment, while other tissues expressing the 'liver' form show both cytoplasmic and mitochondrial activities. Phylogenetic analysis of a number of GSases demonstrates that the toadfish gill GSase has a greater affinity for a clade that includes the Xenopus GSase genes and one of two Fugu GSase genes, than it has for a clade containing the toadfish liver GSase and other described teleost GSase genes. The results are discussed in the context of a prior hypothesis on an ammonia-trapping mechanism in the gill of the toadfish.  (+info)

Putative isotocin distributions in sonic fish: relation to vasotocin and vocal-acoustic circuitry. (7/75)

Recent neurophysiological evidence in the plainfin midshipman fish (Porichthys notatus) demonstrated that isotocin (IT) and arginine vasotocin (AVT) modulate fictive vocalizations divergently between three reproductive morphs. To provide an anatomical framework for the modulation of vocalization by IT and to foster comparisons with the distributions of the IT homologues mesotocin (MT) and oxytocin (OT) in other vertebrate groups, we describe putative IT distributions in the midshipman and the closely related gulf toadfish, Opsanus beta. Double-label fluorescent histochemistry was used for IT and AVT (by using antibodies for MT, OT, and the mammalian AVT homologue, arginine vasopressin [AVP]). MT/OT-like immunoreactive (MT/OT-lir) cell groups were found in the anterior parvocellular, posterior parvocellular, and magnocellular preoptic nuclei. MT/OT-lir fibers and putative terminals densely innervated the ventral telencephalon and numerous areas in the hypothalamus and brainstem. These distributions included all sites of vocal-acoustic integration recently identified for the forebrain and midbrain and diencephalic components of the ascending auditory pathway. Results were qualitatively comparable across morphs, species, and seasons. In contrast to the widespread distribution of MT/OT-lir, AVP-lir somata, fibers, and putative terminals were almost completely restricted to vocal-acoustic regions. These data parallel previous descriptions of AVT immunoreactivity in these species, although the present methods showed a previously undescribed, seasonally variable AVP-lir cell group in the anterior tuberal hypothalamus, a vocally active site and a component of the ascending auditory pathway. These findings provided anatomic support for the role of IT and AVT in the modulation of vocal behavior at multiple levels of the central vocal-acoustic circuitry.  (+info)

Cross-bridge blocker BTS permits direct measurement of SR Ca2+ pump ATP utilization in toadfish swimbladder muscle fibers. (8/75)

Because the major processes involved in muscle contraction require rapid utilization of ATP, measurement of ATP utilization can provide important insights into the mechanisms of contraction. It is necessary, however, to differentiate between the contribution made by cross-bridges and that of the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca2+ pumps. Specific and potent SR Ca2+ pump blockers have been used in skinned fibers to permit direct measurement of cross-bridge ATP utilization. Up to now, there was no analogous cross-bridge blocker. Recently, N-benzyl-p-toluene sulfonamide (BTS) was found to suppress force generation at micromolar concentrations. We tested whether BTS could be used to block cross-bridge ATP utilization, thereby permitting direct measurement of SR Ca2+ pump ATP utilization in saponin-skinned fibers. At 25 microM, BTS virtually eliminates force and cross-bridge ATP utilization (both <4% of control value). By taking advantage of the toadfish swimbladder muscle's unique right shift in its force-Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]) relationship, we measured SR Ca2+ pump ATP utilization in the presence and absence of BTS. At 25 microM, BTS had no effect on SR pump ATP utilization. Hence, we used BTS to make some of the first direct measurements of ATP utilization of intact SR over a physiological range of [Ca2+]at 15 degrees C. Curve fits to SR Ca2+ pump ATP utilization vs. pCa indicate that they have much lower Hill coefficients (1.49) than that describing cross-bridge force generation vs. pCa (approximately 5). Furthermore, we found that BTS also effectively eliminates force generation in bundles of intact swimbladder muscle, suggesting that it will be an important tool for studying integrated SR function during normal motor behavior.  (+info)

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