The pyloric network of the stomatogastric ganglion in crustacea is a central pattern generator that can produce the same basic rhythm over a wide frequency range. Three electrically coupled neurons, the anterior burster (AB) neuron and two pyloric dilator (PD) neurons, act as a pacemaker unit for the pyloric network. The functional characteristics of the pacemaker network are the result of electrical coupling between neurons with quite different intrinsic properties, each contributing a basic feature to the complete circuit. The AB neuron, a conditional oscillator, plays a dominant role in rhythm generation. In the work described here, we manipulate the frequency of the AB neuron both isolated and electrically coupled to the PD neurons. Physiological and modeling studies indicate that the PD neurons play an important role in regulating the duration of the bursts produced by the pacemaker unit.

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