1. The ring giant axon in the outer nerve ring of the jellyfish Aglantha digitale is a multinucleate syncytium 85 % of which is occupied by an electron-dense fluid-filled vacuole apparently in a Gibbs­Donnan equilibrium with the surrounding band of cytoplasmic cortex. Micropipette recordings show small (-15 to -25 mV) and large (-62 to -66 mV) resting potentials. Low values, obtained with a high proportion of the micropipette penetrations, are assumed to be from the central vacuole; high values from the cytoplasmic cortex. Background electrical activity includes rhythmic oscillations and synaptic potentials representing hair cell input caused by vibration. 2. After the ring giant axon has been cut, propagating action potentials evoked by stimulation are conducted past the cut and re-enter the axon on the far side. The system responsible (the carrier system) through-conducts at a velocity approximately 25 % of that of the ring giant axon and is probably composed of small neurones running in parallel with it. Numerous small neurones are seen by electron microscopy, some making one-way and some two-way synapses with the ring giant. 3. Despite their different conduction velocities, the two systems normally appear to fire in synchrony and at the velocity of the ring giant axon. We suggest that, once initiated, ring giant spikes propagate rapidly around the margin, firing the carrier neurones through serial synapses and giving them, in effect, the same high conduction velocity. Initiation of ring giant spikes can, however, require input from the carrier system. The spikes are frequently seen to be mounted on slow positive potentials representing summed carrier postsynaptic potentials. 4. The carrier system fires one-for-one with the giant axons of the tentacles and may mediate impulse traffic between the latter and the ring giant axon. We suggest that the carrier system may also provide the pathways from the ring giant to the motor giant axons used in escape swimming. 5. The findings show that the ring giant axon functions in close collaboration with the carrier system, increasing the latter's effective conduction velocity, and that interactions with other neuronal sub-systems are probably mediated exclusively by the carrier system.

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