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J Comp Neurol. 2003 Jan 20;455(4):451-62.

Early development of the Drosophila brain: V. Pattern of postembryonic neuronal lineages expressing DE-cadherin.

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Department of Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.


The Drosophila E-cadherin homolog, DE-cadherin, is expressed postembryonically by brain neuroblasts and their lineages of neurons ("secondary lineages"). DE-cadherin appears in neuroblasts as soon as they can be identified by their increase in size and then remains expressed uninterruptedly throughout larval life. DE-cadherin remains transiently expressed in the cell bodies and axons of neurons produced by neuroblast proliferation. In general, axons of neurons belonging to one lineage form tight bundles. The trajectories of these bundles are correlated with the location of the neuronal lineages to which they belong. Thus, axon bundles of lineages that are neighbors in the cortex travel parallel to each other and reach the neuropile at similar positions. It is, therefore, possible to assign coherent groups of neuroblasts and their lineages to the individual neuropile compartments and long axon tracts introduced in the accompanying articles (Nassif et al. [2003] J Comp Neurol 455:417-434; Younossi-Hartenstein et al. [2003] J Comp Neurol 455:435-450). In this study, we have reconstructed the pattern of secondary lineages and their projection in relationship to the compartments and Fasciclin II-positive long axon tracts. Based on topology and axonal trajectory, the lineages of the central brain can be subdivided into 11 groups that can be followed throughout successive larval stages. The map of larval lineages and their axonal projection will be important for future studies on postembryonic neurogenesis in Drosophila. It also lays a groundwork for investigating the role of DE-cadherin in larval brain development.

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