In insects, four types of motoneurons have long been known, including fast motoneurons, slow motoneurons, common inhibitory motoneurons, and DUM neurons. They innervate the same muscle and control its contraction together. Recent studies in Drosophila have suggested the existence of another type of motoneuron, the common excitatory motoneuron. Here, we found that shakB-GAL4 produced by Jacob et al. (2000) labels this type of motoneuron in Drosophila larvae. We found that Drosophila larvae have two common excitatory motoneurons in each abdominal segment, RP2 for dorsal muscles and MNSNb/d-Is for ventral muscles. They innervate most of the internal longitudinal or oblique muscles on the dorsal or ventral body wall with type-Is terminals and use glutamate as a transmitter. Electrophysiological recording indicated that stimulation of the RP2 axon evoked excitatory junctional potential in a dorsal muscle.
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