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Development. 2003 Aug;130(16):3607-20.

Segment polarity and DV patterning gene expression reveals segmental organization of the Drosophila brain.

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1
Institut für Genetik, Universität Mainz, D-55099 Mainz, Germany.

Abstract

The insect brain is traditionally subdivided into the trito-, deuto- and protocerebrum. However, both the neuromeric status and the course of the borders between these regions are unclear. The Drosophila embryonic brain develops from the procephalic neurogenic region of the ectoderm, which gives rise to a bilaterally symmetrical array of about 100 neuronal precursor cells, called neuroblasts. Based on a detailed description of the spatiotemporal development of the entire population of embryonic brain neuroblasts, we carried out a comprehensive analysis of the expression of segment polarity genes (engrailed, wingless, hedgehog, gooseberry distal, mirror) and DV patterning genes (muscle segment homeobox, intermediate neuroblast defective, ventral nervous system defective) in the procephalic neuroectoderm and the neuroblast layer (until stage 11, when all neuroblasts are formed). The data provide new insight into the segmental organization of the procephalic neuroectodem and evolving brain. The expression patterns allow the drawing of clear demarcations between trito-, deuto- and protocerebrum at the level of identified neuroblasts. Furthermore, we provide evidence indicating that the protocerebrum (most anterior part of the brain) is composed of two neuromeres that belong to the ocular and labral segment, respectively. These protocerebral neuromeres are much more derived compared with the trito- and deutocerebrum. The labral neuromere is confined to the posterior segmental compartment. Finally, similarities in the expression of DV patterning genes between the Drosophila and vertebrate brains are discussed.

PMID:
12835379
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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