The Visual System of Flies: Analysis of the Number, Specificity, Plasticity, and Phylogeny of Identified Synapses
The functional interactions of a neural circuit are established primarily by its pattern of synaptic connections. Understanding the process of synapse formation and its regulation is therefore paramount to an analysis of circuit organization. To formulate the rules for the assembly of synaptic microcircuits requires as a minimum a simple system that nonetheless possesses the major architectural principles of all nervous systems, and that is easily amenable to precise, detailed analysis. The first neuropil of the fly’s optic lobe, the lamina, meets many of these requirements. As background, the structural organization and ontogeny of the defined circuits of this highly stereotyped neuropil have already been thoroughly investigated. This chapter presents recent studies that have exploited these advantages to decipher the operational steps in the formation of synaptic microcircuits and their regulation, plasticity, and evolution.
KeywordsAmacrine Cell Synapse Formation Optic Lobe Pupal Development Synaptic Site
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