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6 Janelia Publications

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    11/20/12 | Lineage analysis of Drosophila lateral antennal lobe neurons reveals notch-dependent binary temporal fate decisions.
    Lin S, Kao C, Yu H, Huang Y, Lee T
    PLoS Biology. 2012 Nov 20;10(11):e1001425. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001425

    Binary cell fate decisions allow the production of distinct sister neurons from an intermediate precursor. Neurons are further diversified based on the birth order of intermediate precursors. Here we examined the interplay between binary cell fate and birth-order-dependent temporal fate in the Drosophila lateral antennal lobe (lAL) neuronal lineage. Single-cell mapping of the lAL lineage by twin-spot mosaic analysis with repressible cell markers (ts-MARCM) revealed that projection neurons (PNs) and local interneurons (LNs) are made in pairs through binary fate decisions. Forty-five types of PNs innervating distinct brain regions arise in a stereotyped sequence; however, the PNs with similar morphologies are not necessarily born in a contiguous window. The LNs are morphologically less diverse than the PNs, and the sequential morphogenetic changes in the two pairs occur independently. Sanpodo-dependent Notch activity promotes and patterns the LN fates. By contrast, Notch diversifies PN temporal fates in a Sanpodo-dispensable manner. These pleiotropic Notch actions underlie the differential temporal fate specification of twin neurons produced by common precursors within a lineage, possibly by modulating postmitotic neurons’ responses to Notch-independent transcriptional cascades.

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    10/08/12 | The bHLH repressor Deadpan regulates the self-renewal and specification of Drosophila larval neural stem cells independently of Notch.
    Zhu S, Wildonger J, Barshow S, Younger S, Huang Y, Lee T
    PLoS One. 2012 Oct 8;7(10):e46724. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046724

    Neural stem cells (NSCs) are able to self-renew while giving rise to neurons and glia that comprise a functional nervous system. However, how NSC self-renewal is maintained is not well understood. Using the Drosophila larval NSCs called neuroblasts (NBs) as a model, we demonstrate that the Hairy and Enhancer-of-Split (Hes) family protein Deadpan (Dpn) plays important roles in NB self-renewal and specification. The loss of Dpn leads to the premature loss of NBs and truncated NB lineages, a process likely mediated by the homeobox protein Prospero (Pros). Conversely, ectopic/over-expression of Dpn promotes ectopic self-renewing divisions and maintains NB self-renewal into adulthood. In type II NBs, which generate transit amplifying intermediate neural progenitors (INPs) like mammalian NSCs, the loss of Dpn results in ectopic expression of type I NB markers Asense (Ase) and Pros before these type II NBs are lost at early larval stages. Our results also show that knockdown of Notch leads to ectopic Ase expression in type II NBs and the premature loss of type II NBs. Significantly, dpn expression is unchanged in these transformed NBs. Furthermore, the loss of Dpn does not inhibit the over-proliferation of type II NBs and immature INPs caused by over-expression of activated Notch. Our data suggest that Dpn plays important roles in maintaining NB self-renewal and specification of type II NBs in larval brains and that Dpn and Notch function independently in regulating type II NB proliferation and specification.

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    02/23/12 | Hierarchical deployment of factors regulating temporal fate in a diverse neuronal lineage of the Drosophila central brain.
    Kao C, Yu H, He Y, Kao J, Lee T
    Neuron. 2012 Feb 23;73(4):677-84. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2011.12.018

    The anterodorsal projection neuron lineage of Drosophila melanogaster produces 40 neuronal types in a stereotypic order. Here we take advantage of this complete lineage sequence to examine the role of known temporal fating factors, including Chinmo and the Hb/Kr/Pdm/Cas transcriptional cascade, within this diverse central brain lineage. Kr mutation affects the temporal fate of the neuroblast (NB) itself, causing a single fate to be skipped, whereas Chinmo null only elicits fate transformation of NB progeny without altering cell counts. Notably, Chinmo operates in two separate windows to prevent fate transformation (into the subsequent Chinmo-indenpendent fate) within each window. By contrast, Hb/Pdm/Cas play no detectable role, indicating that Kr either acts outside of the cascade identified in the ventral nerve cord or that redundancy exists at the level of fating factors. Therefore, hierarchical fating mechanisms operate within the lineage to generate neuronal diversity in an unprecedented fashion.

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    01/01/12 | Generating neuronal diversity in the Drosophila central nervous system.
    Lin S, Lee T
    Developmental Dynamics: An Official Publication of the American Association of Anatomists. 2012 Jan;241:57-68. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.22739

    Generating diverse neurons in the central nervous system involves three major steps. First, heterogeneous neural progenitors are specified by positional cues at early embryonic stages. Second, neural progenitors sequentially produce neurons or intermediate precursors that acquire different temporal identities based on their birth-order. Third, sister neurons produced during asymmetrical terminal mitoses are given distinct fates. Determining the molecular mechanisms underlying each of these three steps of cellular diversification will unravel brain development and evolution. Drosophila has a relatively simple and tractable CNS, and previous studies on Drosophila CNS development have greatly advanced our understanding of neuron fate specification. Here we review those studies and discuss how the lessons we have learned from fly teach us the process of neuronal diversification in general.

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    01/01/12 | Molecular diversity of Dscam and self-recognition.
    Shi L, Lee T
    Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. 2012;739:262-75. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-1704-0_17

    Cell recognition requires interactions through molecules located on cell surface. The insect homolog of Down syndrome cell adhesion molecule (Dscam) manifests huge molecular diversity in its extracellular domain. High-affinity Dscam-Dscam interactions only occur between isoforms that carry identical extracellular domains. Homophilic Dscam signaling can, thus, vary in strength depending on the compositions of Dscams present on the opposing cell surfaces. Dscam abundantly exists in the developing nervous system and governs arborization and proper elaboration of neurites. Notably, individual neurons may stochastically and dynamically express a small subset of Dscam isoforms such that any given neurite can be endowed with a unique repertoire of Dscams. This allows individual neurites to recognize their sister branches. Self-recognition leads to self-repulsion, ensuring divergent migration of sister processes. By contrast, weak homophilic Dscam interactions may promote fasciculation of neurites that express analogous, but not identical, Dscams. Differential Dscam binding may provide graded cell recognition that in turn governs complex neuronal morphogenesis.

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    01/01/12 | Use of a Drosophila genome-wide conserved sequence database to identify functionally related cis-regulatory enhancers.
    Brody T, Yavatkar AS, Kuzin A, Kundu M, Tyson LJ, Ross J, Lin T, Lee C, Awasaki T, Lee T, Odenwald WF
    Developmental Dynamics: An Official Publication of the American Association of Anatomists. 2012 Jan;241:169-89. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.22728

    Phylogenetic footprinting has revealed that cis-regulatory enhancers consist of conserved DNA sequence clusters (CSCs). Currently, there is no systematic approach for enhancer discovery and analysis that takes full-advantage of the sequence information within enhancer CSCs.

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