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Dev Biol. 2013 Sep 15;381(2):353-64. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2013.06.031. Epub 2013 Jul 5.

Clueless regulates aPKC activity and promotes self-renewal cell fate in Drosophila lgl mutant larval brains.

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Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Singapore.


Asymmetric cell division of Drosophila neural stem cells or neuroblasts is an important process which gives rise to two different daughter cells, one of which is the stem cell itself and the other, a committed or differentiated daughter cell. During neuroblast asymmetric division, atypical Protein Kinase C (aPKC) activity is tightly regulated; aberrant levels of activity could result in tumorigenesis in third instar larval brain. We identified clueless (clu), a genetic interactor of parkin (park), as a novel regulator of aPKC activity. It preferentially binds to the aPKC/Bazooka/Partition Defective 6 complex and stabilizes aPKC levels. In clu mutants, Miranda (Mira) and Numb are mislocalized in small percentages of dividing neuroblasts. Adult mutants are short-lived with severe locomotion defects. Clu promotes tumorigenesis caused by loss of function of lethal(2) giant larvae (lgl) in the larval brain. Removal of clu in lgl mutants rescues Mira and Numb mislocalization and restores the enlarged brain size. Western blot analyses indicate that the rescue is due to the down-regulation of aPKC levels in the lgl clu double mutant. Interestingly, the phenotype of the park mutant, which causes Parkinson's Disease-like symptoms in adult flies, is reminiscent of that of clu in neuroblast asymmetric division. Our study provides the first clue for the potential missing pathological link between temporally separated neurogenesis and neurodegeneration events; the minor defects during early neurogenesis could be a susceptible factor contributing to neurodegenerative diseases at later stages of life.


Drosophila neuroblast asymmetric division; Parkinson's disease; lgl tumorigenesis suppression

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