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Genetics. 2002 Mar;160(3):1095-106.

Precocious expression of the Glide/Gcm glial-promoting factor in Drosophila induces neurogenesis.

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Institut de Génétique et Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire IGBMC/CNRS/ULP/INSERM-BP 163 67404 Illkirch, c.u. de Strasbourg, France.


Neurons and glial cells depend on similar developmental pathways and often originate from common precursors; however, the differentiation of one or the other cell type depends on the activation of cell-specific pathways. In Drosophila, the differentiation of glial cells depends on a transcription factor, Glide/Gcm. This glial-promoting factor is both necessary and sufficient to induce the central and peripheral glial fates at the expense of the neuronal fate. In a screen for mutations affecting the adult peripheral nervous system, we have found a dominant mutation inducing supernumerary sensory organs. Surprisingly, this mutation is allelic to glide/gcm and induces precocious glide/gcm expression, which, in turn, activates the proneural genes. As a consequence, sensory organs are induced. Thus, temporal misregulation of the Glide/Gcm glial-promoting factor reveals a novel potential for this cell fate determinant. At the molecular level, this implies unpredicted features of the glide/gcm pathway. These findings also emphasize the requirement for both spatial and temporal glide/gcm regulation to achieve proper cell specification within the nervous system.

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