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2 Publications

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    10/20/06 | Gradients of the Drosophila Chinmo BTB-zinc finger protein govern neuronal temporal identity.
    Zhu S, Lin S, Kao C, Awasaki T, Chiang A, Lee T
    Cell. 2006 Oct 20;127(2):409-22. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2006.08.045

    Many neural progenitors, including Drosophila mushroom body (MB) and projection neuron (PN) neuroblasts, sequentially give rise to different subtypes of neurons throughout development. We identified a novel BTB-zinc finger protein, named Chinmo (Chronologically inappropriate morphogenesis), that governs neuronal temporal identity during postembryonic development of the Drosophila brain. In both MB and PN lineages, loss of Chinmo autonomously causes early-born neurons to adopt the fates of late-born neurons from the same lineages. Interestingly, primarily due to a posttranscriptional control, MB neurons born at early developmental stages contain more abundant Chinmo than their later-born siblings. Further, the temporal identity of MB progeny can be transformed toward earlier or later fates by reducing or increasing Chinmo levels, respectively. Taken together, we suggest that a temporal gradient of Chinmo (Chinmo(high) –> Chinmo(low)) helps specify distinct birth order-dependent cell fates in an extended neuronal lineage.

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    05/01/06 | Genetic mosaic with dual binary transcriptional systems in Drosophila.
    Lai S, Lee T
    Nature Neuroscience. 2006 May;9(5):703-9. doi: 10.1038/nn1681

    MARCM (mosaic analysis with a repressible cell marker) involves specific labeling of GAL80-minus and GAL4-positive homozygous cells in otherwise heterozygous tissues. Here we demonstrate how the concurrent use of two independent binary transcriptional systems may facilitate complex MARCM studies in the Drosophila nervous system. By fusing LexA with the VP16 acidic activation domain (VP16) or the GAL4 activation domain (GAD), we obtained both GAL80-insensitive and GAL80-suppressible transcriptional factors. LexA::VP16 can mediate MARCM-independent binary transgene induction in mosaic organisms. The incorporation of LexA::GAD into MARCM, which we call dual-expression-control MARCM, permits the induction of distinct transgenes in different patterns among GAL80-minus cells in mosaic tissues. Lineage analysis with dual-expression-control MARCM suggested the presence of neuroglioblasts in the developing optic lobes but did not indicate the production of glia by postembryonic mushroom body neuronal precursors. In addition, dual-expression-control MARCM with a ubiquitous LexA::GAD driver revealed many unidentified cells in the GAL4-GH146-positive projection neuron lineages.

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