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Dev Biol. 2004 Nov 15;275(2):473-92.

Gene expression profiling of the developing Drosophila CNS midline cells.

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Program in Molecular Biology and Biophysics, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3280, USA.


The Drosophila CNS midline cells constitute a specialized set of interneurons, motorneurons, and glia. The utility of the CNS midline cells as a neurogenomic system to study CNS development derives from the ability to easily identify CNS midline-expressed genes. For this study, we used a variety of sources to identify 281 putative midline-expressed genes, including enhancer trap lines, microarray data, published accounts, and the Berkeley Drosophila Genome Project (BDGP) gene expression data. For each gene, we analyzed expression at all stages of embryonic CNS development and categorized expression patterns with regard to specific midline cell types. Of the 281 candidates, we identified 224 midline-expressed genes, which include transcription factors, signaling proteins, and transposable elements. We find that 58 genes are expressed in mesectodermal precursor cells, 138 in midline primordium cells, and 143 in mature midline cells--50 in midline glia, 106 in midline neurons. Additionally, we identified 27 genes expressed in glial and mesodermal cells associated with the midline cells. This work provides the basis for future research that will generate a complete cellular and molecular map of CNS midline development, thus allowing for detailed genetic and molecular studies of neuronal and glial development and function.

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