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Development and plasticity of the Drosophila larval neuromuscular junction

Menon, Kaushiki P. and Carrillo, Robert A. and Zinn, Kai (2013) Development and plasticity of the Drosophila larval neuromuscular junction. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Developmental Biology, 2 (5). pp. 647-670. ISSN 1759-7692. PMCID PMC3767937. doi:10.1002/wdev.108.

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The Drosophila larval neuromuscular system is relatively simple, containing only 32 motor neurons in each abdominal hemisegment, and its neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) have been studied extensively. NMJ synapses exhibit developmental and functional plasticity while displaying stereotyped connectivity. Drosophila Type I NMJ synapses are glutamatergic, while the vertebrate NMJ uses acetylcholine as its primary neurotransmitter. The larval NMJ synapses use ionotropic glutamate receptors (GluRs) that are homologous to AMPA-type GluRs in the mammalian brain, and they have postsynaptic scaffolds that resemble those found in mammalian postsynaptic densities. These features make the Drosophila neuromuscular system an excellent genetic model for the study of excitatory synapses in the mammalian central nervous system. The first section of the review presents an overview of NMJ development. The second section describes genes that regulate NMJ development, including: (1) genes that positively and negatively regulate growth of the NMJ, (2) genes required for maintenance of NMJ bouton structure, (3) genes that modulate neuronal activity and alter NMJ growth, (4) genes involved in transsynaptic signaling at the NMJ. The third section describes genes that regulate acute plasticity, focusing on translational regulatory mechanisms. As this review is intended for a developmental biology audience, it does not cover NMJ electrophysiology in detail, and does not review genes for which mutations produce only electrophysiological but no structural phenotypes.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Menon, Kaushiki P.0000-0003-1039-4704
Carrillo, Robert A.0000-0002-2067-9861
Zinn, Kai0000-0002-6706-5605
Additional Information:© 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Article first published online: 5 Feb. 2013. We would like to thank Violana Nesterova for help with the figures. This work was supported by NIH RO1 grants NS62821 and MH65537 to K.Z.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NIHRO1 NS62821
NIHRO1 MH65537
Issue or Number:5
PubMed Central ID:PMC3767937
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130826-085934430
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:WIREs Dev Biol 2013, 2:647–670. doi: 10.1002/wdev.108
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:40916
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:29 Aug 2013 23:12
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 04:23

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