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Dev Biol. 2006 Jun 15;294(2):509-24. Epub 2006 Apr 24.

Single-cell mapping of neural and glial gene expression in the developing Drosophila CNS midline cells.

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


Understanding the generation of neuronal and glial diversity is one of the major goals of developmental neuroscience. The Drosophila CNS midline cells constitute a simple neurogenomic system to study neurogenesis, cell fate acquisition, and neuronal function. Previously, we identified and determined the developmental expression profiles of 224 midline-expressed genes. Here, the expression of 59 transcription factors, signaling proteins, and neural function genes was analyzed using multi-label confocal imaging, and their expression patterns mapped at the single-cell level at multiple stages of CNS development. These maps uniquely identify individual cells and predict potential regulatory events and combinatorial protein interactions that may occur in each midline cell type during their development. Analysis of neural function genes, including those encoding peptide neurotransmitters, neurotransmitter biosynthetic enzymes, transporters, and neurotransmitter receptors, allows functional characterization of each neuronal cell type. This work is essential for a comprehensive genetic analysis of midline cell development that will likely have widespread significance given the high degree of evolutionary conservation of the genes analyzed.

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