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Neuron. 2001 May;30(2):437-50.

N-cadherin regulates target specificity in the Drosophila visual system.

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Department of Biological Chemistry, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine, 5-748 MRL, 675 Charles Young Drive South, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


Using visual behavioral screens in Drosophila, we identified multiple alleles of N-cadherin. Removal of N-cadherin selectively from photoreceptor neurons (R cells) causes deficits in specific visual behaviors that correlate with disruptions in R cell connectivity. These defects include disruptions in the pattern of neuronal connections made by all three classes of R cells (R1-R6, R7, and R8). N-cadherin is expressed in both R cell axons and their targets. By inducing mitotic recombination in a subclass of eye progenitors, we generated mutant R7 axons surrounded by largely wild-type R cell axons and a wild-type target. R7 axons lacking N-cadherin mistarget to the R8 recipient layer. We consider the implications of these findings in the context of the proposed role for cadherins in target specificity.

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