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Curr Biol. 1998 Nov 5;8(22):1223-6.

A protein related to p21-activated kinase (PAK) that is involved in neurogenesis in the Drosophila adult central nervous system.

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Lehrstuhl für Genetik, Universität Würzburg, Germany.


Brains are organized by the developmental processes generating them. The embryonic neurogenic phase of Drosophila melanogaster has been studied in detail at the genetic, cellular and molecular level. In contrast, much of what is known of postembryonic brain development has been gathered by neuroanatomical and gene expression studies. The molecular mechanisms underlying cellular diversity and structural organisation in the adult brain, such as the establishment of the correct neuroblast number, the spatial and temporal control of neuroblast proliferation, cell fate determination, and the generation of the precise pattern of neuronal connectivity, are largely unknown. In a screen for viable mutations affecting adult central brain structures, we isolated the mushroom bodies tiny (mbt) gene of Drosophila, which encodes a protein related to p21-activated kinase (PAK). We show that mutations in mbt primarily interfere with the generation or survival of the intrinsic cells (Kenyon cells) of the mushroom body, a paired neuropil structure in the adult brain involved in learning and memory.

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