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Development. 2003 Aug;130(16):3621-37.

Molecular markers for identified neuroblasts in the developing brain of Drosophila.

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

Abstract

The Drosophila brain develops from the procephalic neurogenic region of the ectoderm. About 100 neural precursor cells (neuroblasts) delaminate from this region on either side in a reproducible spatiotemporal pattern. We provide neuroblast maps from different stages of the early embryo (stages 9, 10 and 11, when the entire population of neuroblasts has formed), in which about 40 molecular markers representing the expression patterns of 34 different genes are linked to individual neuroblasts. In particular, we present a detailed description of the spatiotemporal patterns of expression in the procephalic neuroectoderm and in the neuroblast layer of the gap genes empty spiracles, hunchback, huckebein, sloppy paired 1 and tailless; the homeotic gene labial; the early eye genes dachshund, eyeless and twin of eyeless; and several other marker genes (including castor, pdm1, fasciclin 2, klumpfuss, ladybird, runt and unplugged). We show that based on the combination of genes expressed, each brain neuroblast acquires a unique identity, and that it is possible to follow the fate of individual neuroblasts through early neurogenesis. Furthermore, despite the highly derived patterns of expression in the procephalic segments, the co-expression of specific molecular markers discloses the existence of serially homologous neuroblasts in neuromeres of the ventral nerve cord and the brain. Taking into consideration that all brain neuroblasts are now assigned to particular neuromeres and individually identified by their unique gene expression, and that the genes found to be expressed are likely candidates for controlling the development of the respective neuroblasts, our data provide a basic framework for studying the mechanisms leading to pattern and cell diversity in the Drosophila brain, and for addressing those mechanisms that make the brain different from the truncal CNS.

PMID:
12835380
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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