The CNS midline cells and spitz class genes are required for proper patterning of Drosophila ventral neuroectoderm
Published: 1 July 1999
C M Lee, D S Yu, S T Crews and S H Kim
Department of Chemistry, Konkuk University, Seoul, Korea.
The Drosophila embryonic central nervous system (CNS) develops from sets of neuroblasts (NBs) which segregate from the ventral neuroectoderm during early embryogenesis. It is not well established how each individual NB in the neuroectoderm acquires its characteristic identity along the dorsal-ventral axis. Since it is known that CNS midline cells and spitz class genes (pointed, rhomboid, single-minded, spitz and Star) are required for the proper patterning of ventral CNS and epidermis originated from the ventral neuroectoderm, this study was carried out to determine the functional roles of the CNS midline cells and spitz class genes in the fate determination of ventral NBs and formation of mature neurons and their axon pathways. Several molecular markers for the identified NBs, neurons, and axon pathways were employed to examine marker gene expression profile, cell lineage and axon pathway formation in the spitz class mutants. This analysis showed that the CNS midline cells specified by single-minded gene as well as spitz class genes are required for identity determination of a subset of ventral NBs and for formation of mature neurons and their axon pathways. This study suggests that the CNS midline cells and spitz class genes are necessary for proper patterning of the ventral neuroectoderm along the dorsal-ventral axis.