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Nat Neurosci. 2003 Jun;6(6):557-63.

The protocadherin Flamingo is required for axon target selection in the Drosophila visual system.

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Department of Biological Chemistry, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Box 951662, Los Angeles, California 90095-1662, USA.


Photoreceptor neurons (R cells) in the Drosophila visual system elaborate a precise map of visual space in the brain. The eye contains some 750 identical modules called ommatidia, each containing eight photoreceptor cells (R1-R8). Cells R1-R6 synapse in the lamina; R7 and R8 extend through the lamina and terminate in the underlying medulla. In a screen for visual behavior mutants, we identified alleles of flamingo (fmi) that disrupt the precise maps elaborated by these neurons. These mutant R1-R6 neurons select spatially inappropriate targets in the lamina. During target selection, Flamingo protein is dynamically expressed in R1-R6 growth cones. Loss of fmi function in R cells also disrupts the local pattern of synaptic terminals in the medulla, and Flamingo is transiently expressed in R8 axons as they enter the target region. We propose that Flamingo-mediated interactions between R-cell growth cones within the target field regulate target selection.

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