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The cyclically repetitive firing sequencess of identifiedDrosophila flight motoneurons

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The flight motoneurons ofDrosophila melanogaster apparently are driven by a common input, yet each is phase-locked to a different time in a repeating cycle. The salient features of the pattern which are described in this paper are the following:

  1. 1.

    The motoneurons to fibers within each single muscle interact and maintain a pattern of activity which is independent of the patterns in the other muscles.

  2. 2.

    The four ventral motor units in each dorsal longitudinal muscle (DLM) generate impulses preferentially in either of two cyclically repeating sequences,-c, e, d, f- or -c, f, d, e-.

  3. 3.

    The two dorsal DLM fibers appear to be innervated by a single motoneuron, 45a/b. This dorsal motor unit fires slightly faster than the four ventral units and thus progressively advances through their sequence, forming an epicycle of activity.

  4. 4.

    The dorsal ventral muscles (DVM) 48 and 46 each have two motor units which usually fire alternately. The remaining DVM, 47, has three motor units which also fire in a repeating cycle, but with frequent changes of position in the sequence.

  5. 5.

    This precise sequencing of motoneuron activity probably occurs also in a variety of other Diptera.

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We wish to thank M. Noland, A. Hewett, T. Powers, S. Weiss, P. Greene, and R. Johns for capable technical assistance with the four computer systems. We also appreciate helpful suggestions on the manuscript given by R. Benolken. Support: USPHS NS-07314

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Harcombe, E.S., Wyman, R.J. The cyclically repetitive firing sequencess of identifiedDrosophila flight motoneurons. J. Comp. Physiol. 123, 271–279 (1978). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00656881

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  • Motor Unit
  • Salient Feature
  • Frequent Change
  • Longitudinal Muscle
  • Single Muscle