Expression and function of the empty spiracles gene in olfactory sense organ development of Drosophila melanogaster

Sonia Sen, Beate Hartmann, Heinrich Reichert, Veronica Rodrigues
Development 2010, 137 (21): 3687-95
In Drosophila, the cephalic gap gene empty spiracles plays key roles in embryonic patterning of the peripheral and central nervous system. During postembryonic development, it is involved in the development of central olfactory circuitry in the antennal lobe of the adult. However, its possible role in the postembryonic development of peripheral olfactory sense organs has not been investigated. Here, we show that empty spiracles acts in a subset of precursors that generate the olfactory sense organs of the adult antenna. All empty spiracles-expressing precursor cells co-express the proneural gene amos and the early patterning gene lozenge. Moreover, the expression of empty spiracles in these precursor cells is dependent on both amos and lozenge. Functional analysis reveals two distinct roles of empty spiracles in the development of olfactory sense organs. Genetic interaction studies in a lozenge-sensitized background uncover a requirement of empty spiracles in the formation of trichoid and basiconic olfactory sensilla. MARCM-based clonal mutant analysis reveals an additional role during axonal targeting of olfactory sensory neurons to glomeruli within the antennal lobe. Our findings on empty spiracles action in olfactory sense organ development complement previous studies that demonstrate its requirement in olfactory interneurons and, taken together with studies on the murine homologs of empty spiracles, suggest that conserved molecular genetic programs might be responsible for the formation of both peripheral and central olfactory circuitry in insects and mammals.

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