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J Comp Neurol. 1998 Dec 14;402(2):197-209.

Motor nerve terminals on abdominal muscles in larval flesh flies, Sarcophaga bullata: comparisons with Drosophila.

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Life Sciences Division, University of Toronto at Scarborough, Ontario, Canada.


Motor nerve terminals on abdominal body-wall muscles 6A and 7A in larval flesh flies were investigated to establish their general structural features with confocal microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and freeze-fracture procedures. As in Drosophila and other dipterans, two motor axons supply these muscles, and two morphologically different terminals were discerned with confocal microscopy: thin terminals with relatively small varicosities (Type Is), and thicker terminals with larger varicosities (Type Ib). In serial electron micrographs, Type Ib terminals were distinguished from Type Is terminals by their larger cross-sectional area, more extensive subsynaptic reticulum, more mitochondrial profiles, and more clear synaptic vesicles. Type Ib terminals possessed larger synapses and more synaptic contact area per unit terminal length. Although presynaptic dense bars of active zones were similar in mean length for the two terminal types, there were almost twice as many dense bars per synapse for Type Ib terminals. Freeze-fractures through the presynaptic membrane showed particle-free areas indicative of synapses on the P-face, within which were localized aggregations of large intramembranous particles indicative of active zones. These particles were similar in number to those found at active zones of several other arthropod neuromuscular junctions. In general, synaptic structural parameters strongly paralleled those of the anatomically homologous muscles in Drosophila melanogaster. In live preparations, simultaneous focal recording from identified varicosities and intracellular recording indicated that the two terminals produced excitatory junction potentials of similar amplitude in a physiological solution similar to that used for Drosophila.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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