The drosophila neuromuscular junction: a model system for studying synaptic development and function

Annu Rev Neurosci. 1996;19:545-75. doi: 10.1146/


The Drosophila neuromuscular junction has attracted widespread attention as an excellent model system for studying the cellular and molecular mechanisms of synaptic development and neurotransmission. In Drosophila the advantages of invertebrate small systems, where individual cells can be examined with single-cell resolution, are combined with the powerful techniques of patch-clamp analysis and molecular genetics. In this review we examine myogenesis and motoneuron development, the problems of axon outgrowth and target selection, the differentiation of the synapse, and the mechanisms of both synaptic function and plasticity in this model genetic system.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Cell Communication
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Drosophila / physiology
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Motor Neurons / cytology
  • Motor Neurons / physiology*
  • Muscles / cytology
  • Muscles / innervation
  • Mutagenesis
  • Nervous System Physiological Phenomena
  • Neuromuscular Junction / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Synapses / physiology*