Homeotic regulation of segment-specific differences in neuroblast numbers and proliferation in the Drosophila central nervous system

Andreas Prokop, Sarah Bray, Emma Harrison, Gerhard M. Technau

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    The number and pattern of neuroblasts that initially segregate from the neuroectoderm in the early Drosophila embryo is identical in thoracic and abdominal segments. However, during late embryogenesis differences in the numbers of neuroblasts and in the extent of neuroblast proliferation arise between these regions. We show that the homeotic genes Ultrabithorax and abdominal-A regulate these late differences, and that misexpression of either gene in thoracic neuroblasts after segregation is sufficient to induce abdominal behaviour. However, in wild type embryos we only detect abdominal- A and Ultrabithorax proteins in early neuroblasts. Furthermore, transplantation experiments reveal that segment-specific behaviour is determined prior to neuroblast segregation. Thus, the segment-specific differences in neuroblast behaviour seem to be determined in the early embryo, mediated through the expression of homeotic genes in early neuroblasts, and executed in later programmes controlling neuroblast numbers and proliferation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)99-110
    Number of pages11
    JournalMechanisms of Development
    Volume74
    Issue number1-2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 1998

    Keywords

    • BrdU
    • Central nervous system
    • Drosophila
    • Homeotic genes
    • Proliferation
    • Transplantation

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