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Development. 2003 Mar;130(6):1203-13.

A mosaic genetic screen for genes necessary for Drosophila mushroom body neuronal morphogenesis.

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1
Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.

Abstract

Neurons undergo extensive morphogenesis during development. To systematically identify genes important for different aspects of neuronal morphogenesis, we performed a genetic screen using the MARCM system in the mushroom body (MB) neurons of the Drosophila brain. Mutations on the right arm of chromosome 2 (which contains approximately 20% of the Drosophila genome) were made homozygous in a small subset of uniquely labeled MB neurons. Independently mutagenized chromosomes (4600) were screened, yielding defects in neuroblast proliferation, cell size, membrane trafficking, and axon and dendrite morphogenesis. We report mutations that affect these different aspects of morphogenesis and phenotypically characterize a subset. We found that roadblock, which encodes a dynein light chain, exhibits reduced cell number in neuroblast clones, reduced dendritic complexity and defective axonal transport. These phenotypes are nearly identical to mutations in dynein heavy chain Dhc64 and in Lis1, the Drosophila homolog of human lissencephaly 1, reinforcing the role of the dynein complex in cell proliferation, dendritic morphogenesis and axonal transport. Phenotypic analysis of short stop/kakapo, which encodes a large cytoskeletal linker protein, reveals a novel function in regulating microtubule polarity in neurons. MB neurons mutant for flamingo, which encodes a seven transmembrane cadherin, extend processes beyond their wild-type dendritic territories. Overexpression of Flamingo results in axon retraction. Our results suggest that most genes involved in neuronal morphogenesis play multiple roles in different aspects of neural development, rather than performing a dedicated function limited to a specific process.

PMID:
12571111
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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