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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2006 Feb;17(1):3-11. Epub 2005 Dec 13.

Development of Drosophila motoneurons: specification and morphology.

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Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK.


In the Drosophila ventral nerve cord, segmentally repeated sets of approximately 80 motoneurons are generated during embryogenesis. Within each hemisegment, each motoneuron is characterised by its axonal projection and innervation of a particular target muscle as well as its dendritic tree in the central nervous system. Codes of transcriptional regulators appear to specify in a hierarchical fashion the cell type, motoneuron sub-types and eventually unique cellular identities. Recent studies show that patterns of connectivity in the periphery are mirrored by patterns of dendritic arborisation centrally thereby providing a neuronal correlate of connectivity to the anatomy of the motor system in the periphery. While the principal mechanisms that underlie the development of the peripheral neuromuscular system have been studied in some detail, much less is known about how the dendrites and their patterns of connections develop in the CNS.

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