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Neuron. 2000 Dec;28(3):807-18.

Cell-autonomous requirement of the USP/EcR-B ecdysone receptor for mushroom body neuronal remodeling in Drosophila.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305,


Neuronal process remodeling occurs widely in the construction of both invertebrate and vertebrate nervous systems. During Drosophila metamorphosis, gamma neurons of the mushroom bodies (MBs), the center for olfactory learning in insects, undergo pruning of larval-specific dendrites and axons followed by outgrowth of adult-specific processes. To elucidate the underlying molecular mechanisms, we conducted a genetic mosaic screen and identified one ultraspiracle (usp) allele defective in larval process pruning. Consistent with the notion that USP forms a heterodimer with the ecdysone receptor (EcR), we found that the EcR-B1 isoform is specifically expressed in the MB gamma neurons, and is required for the pruning of larval processes. Surprisingly, most identified primary EcR/USP targets are dispensable for MB neuronal remodeling. Our study demonstrates cell-autonomous roles for EcR/USP in controlling neuronal remodeling, potentially through novel downstream targets.

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