There are many advantages to studying the invertebrate NMJ as a model synapse. The cell lineages of motor neurons and muscles in C. elegans and Drosophila are well defined and form reproducible neuromuscular patterns. Most of the circuitry is anatomically and physiologically well characterized. Although simple, both invertebrates have an array of specific movements that can be used to assess neuromuscular function. Finally, most synapses can be readily imaged in living animals. Such features, in combination with genetic screens, cell biology, electrophysiology, and biochemistry, have aided the study of synapse development at a unique level of resolution.
Was this article helpful?