Research Articles

Expression and function of the segmentation gene fushi tarazu during Drosophila neurogenesis

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Science  08 Jan 1988:
Vol. 239, Issue 4836, pp. 170-175
DOI: 10.1126/science.2892267


Segmentation genes control cell identities during early pattern formation in Drosophila. One of these genes, fushi tarazu (ftz), is now shown also to control cell fate during neurogenesis. Early in development, ftz is expressed in a striped pattern at the blastoderm stage. Later, it is transiently expressed in a specific subset of neuronal precursor cells, neurons (such as aCC, pCC, RP1, and RP2), and glia in the developing central nervous system (CNS). The function of ftz in the CNS was determined by creating ftz mutant embryos that express ftz in the blastoderm stripes but not in the CNS. In the absence of ftz CNS expression, some neurons appear normal (for example, the aCC, pCC, and RP1), whereas the RP2 neuron extends its growth cone along an abnormal pathway, mimicking its sibling (RP1), suggesting a transformation in neuronal identity.

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