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Stagg, S.B., Guardiola, A.R., Crews, S.T. (2011). Dual role for Drosophila lethal of scute in CNS midline precursor formation and dopaminergic neuron and motoneuron cell fate.  Development 138(11): 2171--2183.
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Dopaminergic neurons play important behavioral roles in locomotion, reward and aggression. The Drosophila H-cell is a dopaminergic neuron that resides at the midline of the ventral nerve cord. Both the H-cell and the glutamatergic H-cell sib are the asymmetric progeny of the MP3 midline precursor cell. H-cell sib cell fate is dependent on Notch signaling, whereas H-cell fate is Notch independent. Genetic analysis of genes that could potentially regulate H-cell fate revealed that the lethal of scute [l(1)sc], tailup and SoxNeuro transcription factor genes act together to control H-cell gene expression. The l(1)sc bHLH gene is required for all H-cell-specific gene transcription, whereas tailup acts in parallel to l(1)sc and controls genes involved in dopamine metabolism. SoxNeuro functions downstream of l(1)sc and controls expression of a peptide neurotransmitter receptor gene. The role of l(1)sc may be more widespread, as a l(1)sc mutant shows reductions in gene expression in non-midline dopaminergic neurons. In addition, l(1)sc mutant embryos possess defects in the formation of MP4-6 midline precursor and the median neuroblast stem cell, revealing a proneural role for l(1)sc in midline cells. The Notch-dependent progeny of MP4-6 are the mVUM motoneurons, and these cells also require l(1)sc for mVUM-specific gene expression. Thus, l(1)sc plays an important regulatory role in both neurogenesis and specifying dopaminergic neuron and motoneuron identities.

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PMC3091489 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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