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Neural Dev. 2010 Oct 1;5:26. doi: 10.1186/1749-8104-5-26.

Drosophila type II neuroblast lineages keep Prospero levels low to generate large clones that contribute to the adult brain central complex.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Oregon, Eugene, 97403, USA.


Tissue homeostasis depends on the ability of stem cells to properly regulate self-renewal versus differentiation. Drosophila neural stem cells (neuroblasts) are a model system to study self-renewal and differentiation. Recent work has identified two types of larval neuroblasts that have different self-renewal/differentiation properties. Type I neuroblasts bud off a series of small basal daughter cells (ganglion mother cells) that each generate two neurons. Type II neuroblasts bud off small basal daughter cells called intermediate progenitors (INPs), with each INP generating 6 to 12 neurons. Type I neuroblasts and INPs have nuclear Asense and cytoplasmic Prospero, whereas type II neuroblasts lack both these transcription factors. Here we test whether Prospero distinguishes type I/II neuroblast identity or proliferation profile, using several newly characterized Gal4 lines. We misexpress prospero using the 19H09-Gal4 line (expressed in type II neuroblasts but no adjacent type I neuroblasts) or 9D11-Gal4 line (expressed in INPs but not type II neuroblasts). We find that differential prospero expression does not distinguish type I and type II neuroblast identities, but Prospero regulates proliferation in both type I and type II neuroblast lineages. In addition, we use 9D11 lineage tracing to show that type II lineages generate both small-field and large-field neurons within the adult central complex, a brain region required for locomotion, flight, and visual pattern memory.

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