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Urbach, R., Jussen, D., Technau, G.M. (2016). Gene expression profiles uncover individual identities of gnathal neuroblasts and serial homologies in the embryonic CNS of Drosophila.  Development 143(8): 1290--1301.
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The numbers and types of progeny cells generated by neural stem cells in the developing CNS are adapted to its region-specific functional requirements. InDrosophila, segmental units of the CNS develop from well-defined patterns of neuroblasts. Here we constructed comprehensive neuroblast maps for the three gnathal head segments. Based on the spatiotemporal pattern of neuroblast formation and the expression profiles of 46 marker genes (41 transcription factors), each neuroblast can be uniquely identified. Compared with the thoracic ground state, neuroblast numbers are progressively reduced in labial, maxillary and mandibular segments due to smaller sizes of neuroectodermal anlagen and, partially, to suppression of neuroblast formation and induction of programmed cell death by the Hox geneDeformed Neuroblast patterns are further influenced by segmental modifications in dorsoventral and proneural gene expression. With the previously published neuroblast maps and those presented here for the gnathal region, all neuroectodermal neuroblasts building the CNS of the fly (ventral nerve cord and brain, except optic lobes) are now individually identified (in total 2×567 neuroblasts). This allows, for the first time, a comparison of the characteristics of segmental populations of stem cells and to screen for serially homologous neuroblasts throughout the CNS. We show that approximately half of the deutocerebral and all of the tritocerebral (posterior brain) and gnathal neuroblasts, but none of the protocerebral (anterior brain) neuroblasts, display serial homology to neuroblasts in thoracic/abdominal neuromeres. Modifications in the molecular signature of serially homologous neuroblasts are likely to determine the segment-specific characteristics of their lineages.

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PMC4852520 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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