Understanding the mechanisms that mediate synaptic plasticity is a primary goal of molecular neuroscience. The Drosophila larval neuromuscular junction provides a particularly useful model for investigating the roles of synaptic components in both structural and functional plasticity. The powerful molecular genetics of this system makes it possible to uncover new synaptic components and signaling molecules, as well as their function in the intact organism. Together with the mouse hippocampus and Aplysia dissociated cell culture, the Drosophila larval neuromuscular junction has been among the most valuable model systems for examining the molecular and cellular basis of neuronal plasticity.
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