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Open Access Editorial

Editorial to the thematic series 'Invertebrate Circuitry'

George Kemenes

Author Affiliations

School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9QG, UK

Neural Systems & Circuits 2011, 1:10  doi:10.1186/2042-1001-1-10

Published: 26 July 2011

First paragraph (this article has no abstract)

As a member of the Editorial Board who works in the field of invertebrate neuroscience, I feel very privileged by being able to introduce here the first thematic series of Neural Systems & Circuits [1]. Befitting the evolutionary history of neuronal circuits in the animal kingdom, this first thematic series will be entitled 'Invertebrate Circuitry'. However, it is not only the evolutionary 'seniority' of invertebrates that justifies the dedication of this series to invertebrate neural systems and circuits. It is well known these days that work on invertebrate neurons and circuits has made a key contribution to our understanding of many fundamental processes governing the function of all nervous systems, including the human brain. These evolutionarily highly conserved processes include the ionic mechanisms of the membrane potential and action potential of nerve cells, the generation of receptor potentials, the one-way conduction of chemical synapses, the role of electrical synapses and the basic physiological mechanisms of the visual response in the retina, to name but a few. Importantly, invertebrate systems have also provided the first detailed mechanistic insights into the more complex functions of neuronal circuits, such as central pattern generation, decision making, neuromodulation, synaptic plasticity and learning and memory, and the development of neuronal networks.