Programmed cell death in the embryonic central nervous system of Drosophila melanogaster

Institute of Genetics, University of Mainz, Saarstrasse 21, D-55122 Mainz, Germany.
Development (Impact Factor: 6.46). 02/2007; 134(1):105-16. DOI: 10.1242/dev.02707
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Although programmed cell death (PCD) plays a crucial role throughout Drosophila CNS development, its pattern and incidence remain largely uninvestigated. We provide here a detailed analysis of the occurrence of PCD in the embryonic ventral nerve cord (VNC). We traced the spatio-temporal pattern of PCD and compared the appearance of, and total cell numbers in, thoracic and abdominal neuromeres of wild-type and PCD-deficient H99 mutant embryos. Furthermore, we have examined the clonal origin and fate of superfluous cells in H99 mutants by DiI labeling almost all neuroblasts, with special attention to segment-specific differences within the individually identified neuroblast lineages. Our data reveal that although PCD-deficient mutants appear morphologically well-structured, there is significant hyperplasia in the VNC. The majority of neuroblast lineages comprise superfluous cells, and a specific set of these lineages shows segment-specific characteristics. The superfluous cells can be specified as neurons with extended wild-type-like or abnormal axonal projections, but not as glia. The lineage data also provide indications towards the identities of neuroblasts that normally die in the late embryo and of those that become postembryonic and resume proliferation in the larva. Using cell-specific markers we were able to precisely identify some of the progeny cells, including the GW neuron, the U motoneurons and one of the RP motoneurons, all of which undergo segment-specific cell death. The data obtained in this analysis form the basis for further investigations into the mechanisms involved in the regulation of PCD and its role in segmental patterning in the embryonic CNS.

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    • "Embryos were fixed as described (Rogulja-Ortmann et al., 2007). Second and third instar larvae (L2/L3) were opened along the dorsal midline and flattened to a silicon ground using minutien fine pins. "
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    ABSTRACT: One of the numerous functions of glial cells in Drosophila is the ensheathment of neurons to isolate them from the potassium-rich haemolymph, thereby establishing the blood-brain barrier. Peripheral nerves of flies are surrounded by three distinct glial cell types. Although all embryonic peripheral glia (ePG) have been identified on a single-cell level, their contribution to the three glial sheaths is not known. We used the Flybow system to label and identify each individual ePG in the living embryo and followed them into third instar larva. We demonstrate that all ePG persist until the end of larval development and some even to adulthood. We uncover the origin of all three glial sheaths and describe the larval differentiation of each peripheral glial cell in detail. Interestingly, just one ePG (ePG2) exhibits mitotic activity during larval stages, giving rise to up to 30 glial cells along a single peripheral nerve tract forming the outermost perineurial layer. The unique mitotic ability of ePG2 and the layer affiliation of additional cells were confirmed by in vivo ablation experiments and layer-specific block of cell cycle progression. The number of cells generated by this glial progenitor and hence the control of perineurial hyperplasia correlate with the length of the abdominal nerves. By contrast, the wrapping and subperineurial glia layers show enormous hypertrophy in response to larval growth. This characterisation of the embryonic origin and development of each glial sheath will facilitate functional studies, as they can now be addressed distinctively and genetically manipulated in the embryo.
    Development 07/2013; 140(17). DOI:10.1242/dev.093245 · 6.46 Impact Factor
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    • "Many cells in the developing ventral nerve cord, for example, are known to die in the late embryo (Truman et al. 1992; Abrams et al. 1993; Rogulja-Ortmann et al. 2007). Preventing this cell death results in abnormal axonal projections and failure of ventral nerve cord condensation (Abrams et al. 1993; Rogulja-Ortmann et al. 2007; Page & Olofsson 2008). In the ventral nerve cord, the so-called " pioneer " neurons undergo segment-specific cell death after guiding the so-called " follower " axons (Miguel- Aliaga & Thor 2004). "
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    ABSTRACT: A large number of cells die via programmed cell death during the normal development of the Drosophila optic lobe. In this study, we report the precise spatial and temporal pattern of cell death in this organ. Cell death in the developing optic lobe occurs in two distinct phases. The first phase extends from the start of metamorphosis to the mid-pupal stage. During this phase, a large number of cells die in the optic lobe as a whole, with a peak of cell death at an early pupal stage in the lamina and medulla cortices and the region of the T2/T3/C neurons, and a smaller number of dead cells observed in the lobula plate cortex. The second phase extends from the mid-pupal stage to eclosion. Throughout this period, a small number of dying cells can be observed, with a small peak at a late pupal stage. Most of the dying cells are neurons. During the first phase, dying cells are distributed in specific patterns in cortices. The lamina cortex contains two distinct clusters of dying cells; the medulla cortex, four clusters; the lobula plate cortex, one cluster; and the region of the T2/T3/C neurons, one cluster. Many of the clusters maintain their distinct positions in the optic lobe but others extend the region they cover during development. The presence of distinct clusters of dying cells at different phases suggests that distinct mechanisms control cell death during different stages of optic lobe development in Drosophila.
    Development Growth and Regeneration 05/2012; 54(4):503-18. DOI:10.1111/j.1440-169X.2012.01340.x · 2.42 Impact Factor
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    • "Programmed cell death has been widely studied in development of the central nervous system of Drosophila. Most of these studies have focused on lineages in the developing ventral nerve cord, in which cell death controls neuroblast and neural cell survival, often in a segment-specific manner [18-22,26,39,40]. Recently, lineage-specific programmed cell death has been reported in central brain development, and related to specific sublineages. "
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    ABSTRACT: The number of neurons generated by neural stem cells is dependent upon the regulation of cell proliferation and by programmed cell death. Recently, novel neural stem cells that amplify neural proliferation through intermediate neural progenitors, called type II neuroblasts, have been discovered, which are active during brain development in Drosophila. We investigated programmed cell death in the dorsomedial (DM) amplifying type II lineages that contribute neurons to the development of the central complex in Drosophila, using clonal mosaic analysis with a repressible cell marker (MARCM) and lineage-tracing techniques. A significant number of the adult-specific neurons generated in these DM lineages were eliminated by programmed cell death. Programmed cell death occurred during both larval and pupal stages. During larval development, approximately one-quarter of the neuronal (but not glial) cells in the lineages were eliminated by apoptosis before the formation of synaptic connectivity during pupal stages. Lineage-tracing experiments documented the extensive contribution of intermediate neural progenitor-containing DM lineages to all of the major modular substructures of the adult central complex. Moreover, blockage of apoptotic cell death specifically in these lineages led to prominent innervation defects of DM-derived neural progeny in the major neuropile substructures of the adult central complex. Our findings indicate that significant neural overproliferation occurs normally in type II DM lineage development, and that elimination of excess neurons in these lineages through programmed cell death is required for the formation of correct neuropile innervation in the developing central complex. Thus, amplification of neuronal proliferation through intermediate progenitors and reduction of neuronal number through programmed cell death operate in concert in type II neural stem-cell lineages during brain development.
    Neural Development 01/2012; 7(1):3. DOI:10.1186/1749-8104-7-3 · 3.45 Impact Factor
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