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Babski, H., Jovanic, T., Surel, C., Yoshikawa, S., Zwart, M.F., Valmier, J., Thomas, J.B., Enriquez, J., Carroll, P., Garc├Ęs, A. (2019). A GABAergic Maf-expressing interneuron subset regulates the speed of locomotion in Drosophila.  Nat. Commun. 10(1): 4796.
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Research paper

Interneurons (INs) coordinate motoneuron activity to generate appropriate patterns of muscle contractions, providing animals with the ability to adjust their body posture and to move over a range of speeds. In Drosophila larvae several IN subtypes have been morphologically described and their function well documented. However, the general lack of molecular characterization of those INs prevents the identification of evolutionary counterparts in other animals, limiting our understanding of the principles underlying neuronal circuit organization and function. Here we characterize a restricted subset of neurons in the nerve cord expressing the Maf transcription factor Traffic Jam (TJ). We found that TJ+ neurons are highly diverse and selective activation of these different subtypes disrupts larval body posture and induces specific locomotor behaviors. Finally, we show that a small subset of TJ+ GABAergic INs, singled out by the expression of a unique transcription factors code, controls larval crawling speed.

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PMC6805931 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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    Nat. Commun.
    Nature communications
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    Alleles (34)
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