Central synaptic inputs to identified leech neurons determined by peripheral targets

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Science  07 Apr 1989:
Vol. 244, Issue 4900, pp. 64-66
DOI: 10.1126/science.2704990


Developing Retzius (Rz) neurons in different segments of the central nervous system of the medicinal leech have different peripheral targets: Rz cells in standard segments innervate the body wall, whereas Rz cells in the reproductive segments innervate reproductive tissue. Early removal of reproductive tissue primordia causes reproductive Rz cells to develop morphologically like their standard segmental homologs, suggesting that Rz cells depend on peripheral targets for signals that determine their central and peripheral morphology. Furthermore, after removal of reproductive tissue, reproductive Rz cells also receive synaptic inputs normally appropriate for standard Rz cells. These results suggest that the functional identity of these neurons is specified by the target they contact during embryogenesis.

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