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Int Rev Neurobiol. 2006;69:125-67.

The motor circuit.

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  • 1Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.


Caenorhabditis elegans motor neurons control a range of activities including locomotion, foraging, defecation, and gender-specific functions. In this chapter,we focus primarily on motor neurons that regulate body movement, with particular emphasis on those in the ventral nerve cord (VNC). We describe the basic architecture and development of the motor circuit, genes that specify motor neuron fates, and models of how the motor circuit controls locomotion. We identify surprising similarities between the structure and development of the nematode and vertebrate axial nerve cords and speculate about the potential roles of conserved families of transcription factors in the evolution of these motor circuits.

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