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Neuron. 2003 Jan 9;37(1):41-51.

Genetic specification of axonal arbors: atonal regulates robo3 to position terminal branches in the Drosophila nervous system.

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Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, United Kingdom.


Drosophila sensory neurons form distinctive terminal branch patterns in the developing neuropile of the embryonic central nervous system. In this paper we make a genetic analysis of factors regulating arbor position. We show that mediolateral position is determined in a binary fashion by expression (chordotonal neurons) or nonexpression (multidendritic neurons) of the Robo3 receptor for the midline repellent Slit. Robo3 expression is one of a suite of chordotonal neuron properties that depend on expression of the proneural gene atonal. Different features of terminal branches are separately regulated: an arbor can be shifted mediolaterally without affecting its dorsoventral location, and the distinctive remodeling of one arbor continues as normal despite this arbor shifting to an abnormal position in the neuropile.

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