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Development. 2014 Jun;141(12):2524-32. doi: 10.1242/dev.108720.

Atlas-builder software and the eNeuro atlas: resources for developmental biology and neuroscience.

Author information

1
Institute of Neuroscience, Institute of Molecular Biology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, USA.
2
Janelia Farm Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, VA 20147, USA.
3
Program in Molecular Biology and Biophysics, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 275995, USA.
4
Institute of Neuroscience, Institute of Molecular Biology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, USA cdoe@uoregon.edu.

Abstract

A major limitation in understanding embryonic development is the lack of cell type-specific markers. Existing gene expression and marker atlases provide valuable tools, but they typically have one or more limitations: a lack of single-cell resolution; an inability to register multiple expression patterns to determine their precise relationship; an inability to be upgraded by users; an inability to compare novel patterns with the database patterns; and a lack of three-dimensional images. Here, we develop new 'atlas-builder' software that overcomes each of these limitations. A newly generated atlas is three-dimensional, allows the precise registration of an infinite number of cell type-specific markers, is searchable and is open-ended. Our software can be used to create an atlas of any tissue in any organism that contains stereotyped cell positions. We used the software to generate an 'eNeuro' atlas of the Drosophila embryonic CNS containing eight transcription factors that mark the major CNS cell types (motor neurons, glia, neurosecretory cells and interneurons). We found neuronal, but not glial, nuclei occupied stereotyped locations. We added 75 new Gal4 markers to the atlas to identify over 50% of all interneurons in the ventral CNS, and these lines allowed functional access to those interneurons for the first time. We expect the atlas-builder software to benefit a large proportion of the developmental biology community, and the eNeuro atlas to serve as a publicly accessible hub for integrating neuronal attributes - cell lineage, gene expression patterns, axon/dendrite projections, neurotransmitters--and linking them to individual neurons.

KEYWORDS:

Atlas; Gal4 lines; Gene expression; Interneurons; Neuronal diversity

PMID:
24917506
PMCID:
PMC4050700
DOI:
10.1242/dev.108720
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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