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Dev Dyn. 2014 Mar;243(3):402-14. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.24083. Epub 2013 Dec 3.

Origin and specification of the brain leucokinergic neurons of Drosophila: similarities to and differences from abdominal leucokinergic neurons.

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Development and Differentiation Department, Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa (CBMSO), Madrid, Spain; Biology Department Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain.



The Drosophila central nervous system contains many types of neurons that are derived from a limited number of progenitors as evidenced in the ventral ganglion. The situation is much more complex in the developing brain. The main neuronal structures in the adult brain are generated in the larval neurogenesis, although the basic neuropil structures are already laid down during embryogenesis. The embryonic factors involved in adult neuron origin are largely unknown. To shed light on how brain cell diversity is achieved, we studied the early temporal and spatial cues involved in the specification of lateral horn leucokinin peptidergic neurons (LHLKs).


Our analysis revealed that these neurons have an embryonic origin. We identified their progenitor neuroblast as Pcd6 in the Technau and Urbach terminology. Evidence was obtained that a temporal series involving the transcription factors Kr, Pdm, and Cas participates in the genesis of the LHLK lineage, the Castor window being the one in which the LHLKs neurons are generated. It was also shown that Notch signalling and Dimmed are involved in the specification of the LHLKs.


Serial homologies with the origin and factors involved in specification of the abdominal leucokinergic neurons (ABLKs) have been detected.


Drosophila; brain; leucokinin; neuroblast; neurons

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