A genetic cascade involving klumpfuss, nab and castor specifies the abdominal leucokinergic neurons in the Drosophila CNS

Jonathan Benito-Sipos, Alicia Estacio-Gómez, Marta Moris-Sanz, Magnus Baumgardt, Stefan Thor, Fernando J Díaz-Benjumea
Development 2010, 137 (19): 3327-36
Identification of the genetic mechanisms underlying the specification of large numbers of different neuronal cell fates from limited numbers of progenitor cells is at the forefront of developmental neurobiology. In Drosophila, the identities of the different neuronal progenitor cells, the neuroblasts, are specified by a combination of spatial cues. These cues are integrated with temporal competence transitions within each neuroblast to give rise to a specific repertoire of cell types within each lineage. However, the nature of this integration is poorly understood. To begin addressing this issue, we analyze the specification of a small set of peptidergic cells: the abdominal leucokinergic neurons. We identify the progenitors of these neurons, the temporal window in which they are specified and the influence of the Notch signaling pathway on their specification. We also show that the products of the genes klumpfuss, nab and castor play important roles in their specification via a genetic cascade.

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