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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Dec 11;104(50):19873-8. Epub 2007 Dec 3.

The origin of islet-like cells in Drosophila identifies parallels to the vertebrate endocrine axis.

Author information

  • 1Wistar Institute, Room 358, 3601 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

Abstract

Single-cell resolution lineage information is a critical key to understanding how the states of gene regulatory networks respond to cell interactions and thereby establish distinct cell fates. Here, we identify a single pair of neural stem cells (neuroblasts) as progenitors of the brain insulin-producing neurosecretory cells of Drosophila, which are homologous to islet beta cells. Likewise, we identify a second pair of neuroblasts as progenitors of the neurosecretory Corpora cardiaca cells, which are homologous to the glucagon-secreting islet alpha cells. We find that both progenitors originate as neighboring cells from anterior neuroectoderm, which expresses genes orthologous to those expressed in the vertebrate adenohypophyseal placode, the source of endocrine anterior pituitary and neurosecretory hypothalamic cells [Whitlock KE (2005) Trends Endocrinol Metab 16:145-151]. This ontogenic-molecular concordance suggests that a rudimentary brain endocrine axis was present in the common ancestor of humans and flies, where it orchestrated the islet-like endocrine functions of insulin and glucagon biology.

PMID:
18056636
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2148390
Free PMC Article

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