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Are motor neurons just passive relayers of the signals they receive? Or, do motor neurons shape the signals before passing them on to the muscles, thereby influencing the timing of motor behavior? Few direct tests of the role of motor neuron intrinsic properties in shaping motor behavior have been carried out, and many questions remain about the role of specific ion channel genes in motor neuron function. In this study, two potassium channel transgenes were expressed in Drosophila larval motor neurons to increase their excitability. Mosaic animals were created in which some identified motor neurons expressed the transgenes while others did not. Motor output underlying crawling was compared in muscles innervated by control and experimental neurons in the same animals. Counterintuitively, no effect of the transgenic manipulation on motor output was seen. Future experiments are outlined to determine how the larval nervous system produces normal motor output in the face of altered motor neuron excitability.
This is version 2 of a submission to PeerJ PrePrints. This manuscript was also submitted for publication in PeerJ, but was later withdrawn by the author after receiving a decision of 'major revisions'. The author was unable at the time to perform the additional experiments requested by the reviewers. The reviewer reports are included here as supplemental material. By request, the co-author's name has been redacted from the reviewer reports, as he/she did not wish to appear as a co-author at this stage of publication. No other changes to the reports have been made. Feedback on the manuscript and reviews is welcome.