Opposing intrinsic temporal gradients guide neural stem cell production of varied neuronal fates

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Science  16 Oct 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6258, pp. 317-320
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad1886

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Changes over time build neuronal diversity

Although neural progenitors can keep generating new neurons, they can generate different neurons as the organism develops. Two different sections of the Drosophila brain, the mushroom bodies and the antennal lobes, show this characteristic, although the antennal lobes produce more different types of neurons over development than do the mushroom bodies. Liu et al. identified two RNA-binding proteins that manage this change over development in both settings.

Science, this issue p. 317


Neural stem cells show age-dependent developmental potentials, as evidenced by their production of distinct neuron types at different developmental times. Drosophila neuroblasts produce long, stereotyped lineages of neurons. We searched for factors that could regulate neural temporal fate by RNA-sequencing lineage-specific neuroblasts at various developmental times. We found that two RNA-binding proteins, IGF-II mRNA-binding protein (Imp) and Syncrip (Syp), display opposing high-to-low and low-to-high temporal gradients with lineage-specific temporal dynamics. Imp and Syp promote early and late fates, respectively, in both a slowly progressing and a rapidly changing lineage. Imp and Syp control neuronal fates in the mushroom body lineages by regulating the temporal transcription factor Chinmo translation. Together, the opposing Imp/Syp gradients encode stem cell age, specifying multiple cell fates within a lineage.

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