Brain and nervous system | Physiology of the Mauthner Cell: Discovery and Properties

A. E. Pereda, D. S. Faber

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


The Mauthner cells are two colossal reticulospinal neurons that, based on their sensory inputs and motor output connections, mediate tail-flip escape responses. Singular cellular and synaptic properties endow the Mauthner cell system with speed and functional flexibility. Because of their experimental accessibility, the Mauthner cells have provided important insights into basic mechanisms of cellular excitability and synaptic transmission, including mechanisms of synaptic inhibition, transmitter release, and the effect of electrical fields and plasticity of gap junction-mediated electrical synapses. The rich physiological properties of the Mauthner cells will continue to provide a unique window for discovery of basic mechanisms of brain function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Fish Physiology
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9780080923239
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011


  • Action potential
  • Axon
  • Chemical synapse
  • Electrical synapse
  • Escape response
  • Field effect
  • Gap junctions
  • Long-term potentiation
  • Mauthner
  • Motor control
  • Reticulospinal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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