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Development. 1997 Feb;124(3):673-81.

Mutations in lottchen cause cell fate transformations in both neuroblast and glioblast lineages in the Drosophila embryonic central nervous system.

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Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, National University of Singapore.


The Drosophila embryonic central nervous system (CNS) develops from a stereotyped pattern of neuronal progenitor cells called neuroblasts (NB). Each NB has a unique identity that is defined by the time and position of its formation and a characteristic combination of genes it expresses. Each NB generates a specific lineage of neurons and/or glia. Here we describe the genetic and phenotypic analysis of lottchen (ltt), a novel gene whose loss of function causes a change in the identity of at least one NB as well as cell fate transformations within the lateral glioblast lineage. In wildtype embryos the parental NB of the motoneuron RP2 is NB4-2. ltt embryos are distinguished by an additional RP2-like neuron which appears later in development. We show that the two RP2 neurons are derived from two distinct GMC4-2a-like cells that do not share the same parental NB, indicating that a second NB has acquired the potential to produce a GMC and a neuron which is normally restricted to the NB4-2 lineage. Moreover, the ltt mutations lead to a loss of correctly specified longitudinal glia; this coincides with severely defective longitudinal connectives. Therefore, lottchen plays a role in specifying the identity of both neuroblast and glioblast lineages in the Drosophila embryonic CNS. We discuss the possibility that ltt may act to differentiate NB identity along the medial lateral axis.

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