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Development. 2008 Nov;135(21):3481-9. doi: 10.1242/dev.016931.

Temporal control of neuronal diversity: common regulatory principles in insects and vertebrates?

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Division of Developmental Neurobiology, MRC National Institute for Medical Research, The Ridgeway, Mill Hill, London NW7 1AA, UK.


It is well established in species as diverse as insects and mammals that different neuronal and glial subtypes are born at distinct times during central nervous system development. In Drosophila, there is now compelling evidence that individual multipotent neuroblasts express a sequence of progenitor transcription factors which, in turn, regulates the postmitotic transcription factors that specify neuronal/glial temporal identities. Here, we examine the hypothesis that the regulatory principles underlying this mode of temporal specification are shared between insects and mammals, even if some of the factors themselves are not. We also propose a general model for birth-order-dependent neural specification and suggest some experiments to test its validity.

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