Research Articles

Synaptic rearrangement during postembryonic development in the cricket

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  13 May 1988:
Vol. 240, Issue 4854, pp. 901-905
DOI: 10.1126/science.3363372


Synaptic rearrangement during development is a characteristic of the vertebrate nervous system and was thought to distinguish vertebrates from the invertebrates. However, examination of the wind-sensitive cercal sensory system of the cricket demonstrates that some identified synaptic connections systematically decrease in strength as an animal matures, while others increase in strength over the same period. Moreover, a single sensory neuron could increase the strength of its synaptic connection with one interneuron while decreasing the strength of its connection with another interneuron. Thus, rather than being a hallmark of the vertebrate nervous system, synaptic rearrangement is probably characteristic of the development of many if not all nervous systems.