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Dev Cell. 2001 Nov;1(5):679-90.

The Drosophila neuregulin vein maintains glial survival during axon guidance in the CNS.

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NeuroDevelopment Group, Department of Genetics, University of Cambridge, CB1 3QJ, Cambridge, United Kingdom.


Neuron-glia interactions are necessary for the formation of the longitudinal axon trajectories in the Drosophila central nervous system. Longitudinal glial cells are required for axon guidance and fasciculation, and pioneer neurons for trophic support of the glia. Neuregulin is a neuronal molecule that controls glial survival in the vertebrate nervous system. The Drosophila protein Vein has structural similarities with Neuregulin. We show here that Vein functions like a Neuregulin to maintain glial cell survival. We present direct in vivo evidence at single-cell resolution that Vein is produced by pioneer neurons and maintains the survival of neighboring longitudinal glia. This mechanism links axon guidance to control of glial cell number and may contribute to plasticity during the establishment of normal axonal trajectories.

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