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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Morphology of a sensory neuron in Drosophila is abnormal in memory mutants and changes during aging.

Several mutations in Drosophila impair learning and the cAMP cascade. We report here that the fine morphology of an identified mechanosensory neuron is abnormal in two of these mutants, dunce (dnc) and rutabaga (rut). The neuron innervating the antero-notopleural bristle was filled with horseradish peroxidase and studied at the light- and electron-microscopy level. In the mutants dnc and rut, this neuron has an abnormally large number of side branches and varicosities in a defined segment of the axon. In wild-type flies, age tends to decrease the number of side branches and variacosities in the same axonal segment that is affected by the mutations. Ultrastructural studies are compatible with the interpretation that the varicosities are potential synaptic sites. The results suggest that the cAMP cascade plays a role in shaping neuronal connectivity.[1]


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