The peripheral nervous system supports blood cell homing and survival in the Drosophila larva

Department of Cell and Tissue Biology, University of California-San Francisco, 35 Medical Center Way, San Francisco, CA 94143-0669, USA.
Development (Impact Factor: 6.27). 11/2011; 138(24):5379-91. DOI: 10.1242/dev.067322
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Interactions of hematopoietic cells with their microenvironment control blood cell colonization, homing and hematopoiesis. Here, we introduce larval hematopoiesis as the first Drosophila model for hematopoietic colonization and the role of the peripheral nervous system (PNS) as a microenvironment in hematopoiesis. The Drosophila larval hematopoietic system is founded by differentiated hemocytes of the embryo, which colonize segmentally repeated epidermal-muscular pockets and proliferate in these locations. Importantly, we show that these resident hemocytes tightly colocalize with peripheral neurons and we demonstrate that larval hemocytes depend on the PNS as an attractive and trophic microenvironment. atonal (ato) mutant or genetically ablated larvae, which are deficient for subsets of peripheral neurons, show a progressive apoptotic decline in hemocytes and an incomplete resident hemocyte pattern, whereas supernumerary peripheral neurons induced by ectopic expression of the proneural gene scute (sc) misdirect hemocytes to these ectopic locations. This PNS-hematopoietic connection in Drosophila parallels the emerging role of the PNS in hematopoiesis and immune functions in vertebrates, and provides the basis for the systematic genetic dissection of the PNS-hematopoietic axis in the future.

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