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EMBO J. 2006 Feb 8;25(3):615-27. Epub 2006 Jan 26.

Baboon/dSmad2 TGF-beta signaling is required during late larval stage for development of adult-specific neurons.

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Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, School of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, USA.


The intermingling of larval functional neurons with adult-specific neurons during metamorphosis contributes to the development of the adult Drosophila brain. To better understand this process, we characterized the development of a dorsal cluster (DC) of Atonal-positive neurons that are born at early larval stages but do not undergo extensive morphogenesis until pupal formation. We found that Baboon(Babo)/dSmad2-mediated TGF-beta signaling, known to be essential for remodeling of larval functional neurons, is also indispensable for proper morphogenesis of these adult-specific neurons. Mosaic analysis reveals slowed development of mutant DC neurons, as evidenced by delays in both neuronal morphogenesis and atonal expression. We observe similar phenomena in other adult-specific neurons. We further demonstrate that Babo/dSmad2 operates autonomously in individual neurons and specifically during the late larval stage. Our results suggest that Babo/dSmad2 signaling prior to metamorphosis may be widely required to prepare neurons for the dynamic environment present during metamorphosis.

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