Neurexin-1 is required for synapse formation and larvae associative learning in Drosophila

FEBS Lett. 2007 May 29;581(13):2509-16. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2007.04.068. Epub 2007 May 4.


Neurexins are highly polymorphic cell-surface adhesive molecules in neurons. In cultured mammalian cell system, they were found to be involved in synaptogenesis. Here, we report for the first time that Drosophila neurexin is required for synapse formation and associative learning in larvae. Drosophila genome encodes a single functional neurexin (CG7050; Neurexin-1 or Nrx-1), which is a homolog of vertebrate alpha-neurexin. Neurexin-1 is expressed in central nervous system and highly enriched in synaptic regions of the ventral ganglion and brain. Neurexin-1 null mutants are viable and fertile, but have shortened lifespan. The synapse number is decreased in central nervous system in Neurexin-1 null mutants. In addition, Neurexin-1 null mutants exhibit associative learning defect in larvae.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Association Learning / physiology*
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal / deficiency*
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal / genetics*
  • Drosophila / embryology
  • Drosophila / growth & development
  • Drosophila / physiology*
  • Drosophila Proteins / deficiency*
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / physiology
  • Fertility
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Larva / physiology*
  • Longevity / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / deficiency
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics*
  • Plasmids
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Sequence Deletion
  • Smell / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology*


  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Nrx protein, Drosophila
  • RNA, Messenger