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Neuron. 2001 Jan;29(1):99-113.

Glial cells mediate target layer selection of retinal axons in the developing visual system of Drosophila.

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Lehrstuhl für Entwicklungsbiologie, Institut für Zoologie, Universität Regensburg, Universitätsstr. 31, 93053, Regensburg, Germany.


In the fly visual system, each class of photoreceptor neurons (R cells) projects to a different synaptic layer in the brain. R1-R6 axons terminate in the lamina, while R7 and R8 axons pass through the lamina and stop in the medulla. As R cell axons enter the lamina, they encounter both glial cells and neurons. The cellular requirement for R1-R6 targeting was determined using loss-of-function mutations affecting different cell types in the lamina. nonstop (encoding a ubiquitin-specific protease) is required for glial cell development and hedgehog for neuronal development. Removal of glial cells but not neurons disrupts R1-R6 targeting. We propose that glial cells provide the initial stop signal promoting growth cone termination in the lamina. These findings uncover a novel function for neuron-glial interactions in regulating target specificity.

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