Ion Channels and Locomotion

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Science  07 Nov 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5340, pp. 1087-1088
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5340.1087

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A brief touch can trigger immediate flight in an animal. In his Perspective, Grillner discusses a finding reported on page 1122 of this issue by Viana di Prisco et al. that may underlie this response. Transient stimulation on the skin of a lamprey causes a long-lasting excitation of the neurons that control motor behaviors, initiating locomotion. This mechanism for converting a brief signal into a longer-lasting response may underlie the initiation of motor activities in all vertebrates.