Daiki Umetsu

The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Tokyo-to, Japan

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Publications (10)65.35 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Topographic maps, which maintain the spatial order of neurons in the order of their axonal connections, are found in many parts of the nervous system. Here, we focus on the communication between retinal axons and their postsynaptic partners, lamina neurons, in the first ganglion of the Drosophila visual system, as a model for the formation of topographic maps. Post-mitotic lamina precursor cells differentiate upon receiving Hedgehog signals delivered through newly arriving retinal axons and, before maturing to extend neurites, extend short processes toward retinal axons to create the lamina column. The lamina column provides the cellular basis for establishing stereotypic synapses between retinal axons and lamina neurons. In this study, we identified two cell-adhesion molecules: Hibris, which is expressed in post-mitotic lamina precursor cells; and Roughest, which is expressed on retinal axons. Both proteins belong to the nephrin/NEPH1 family. We provide evidence that recognition between post-mitotic lamina precursor cells and retinal axons is mediated by interactions between Hibris and Roughest. These findings revealed mechanisms by which axons of presynaptic neurons deliver signals to induce the development of postsynaptic partners at the target area. Postsynaptic partners then recognize the presynaptic axons to make ensembles, thus establishing a topographic map along the anterior/posterior axis.
    Development 10/2010; 137(19):3303-13. · 6.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During neurogenesis in the medulla of the Drosophila optic lobe, neuroepithelial cells are programmed to differentiate into neuroblasts at the medial edge of the developing optic lobe. The wave of differentiation progresses synchronously in a row of cells from medial to the lateral regions of the optic lobe, sweeping across the entire neuroepithelial sheet; it is preceded by the transient expression of the proneural gene lethal of scute [l(1)sc] and is thus called the proneural wave. We found that the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling pathway promotes proneural wave progression. EGFR signaling is activated in neuroepithelial cells and induces l(1)sc expression. EGFR activation is regulated by transient expression of Rhomboid (Rho), which is required for the maturation of the EGF ligand Spitz. Rho expression is also regulated by the EGFR signal. The transient and spatially restricted expression of Rho generates sequential activation of EGFR signaling and assures the directional progression of the differentiation wave. This study also provides new insights into the role of Notch signaling. Expression of the Notch ligand Delta is induced by EGFR, and Notch signaling prolongs the proneural state. Notch signaling activity is downregulated by its own feedback mechanism that permits cells at proneural states to subsequently develop into neuroblasts. Thus, coordinated sequential action of the EGFR and Notch signaling pathways causes the proneural wave to progress and induce neuroblast formation in a precisely ordered manner.
    Development 10/2010; 137(19):3193-203. · 6.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chromatin reorganization is essential for transcriptional control by sequence-specific transcription factors. However, the molecular link between transcriptional control and chromatin reconfiguration remains unclear. By colocalization of the nuclear ecdysone receptor (EcR) on the ecdysone-induced puff in the salivary gland, Drosophila DEK (dDEK) was genetically identified as a coactivator of EcR in both insect cells and intact flies. Biochemical purification and characterization of the complexes containing fly and human DEKs revealed that DEKs serve as histone chaperones via phosphorylation by forming complexes with casein kinase 2. Consistent with the preferential association of the DEK complex with histones enriched in active epigenetic marks, dDEK facilitated H3.3 assembly during puff formation. In some human myeloid leukemia patients, DEK was fused to CAN by chromosomal translocation. This mutation significantly reduced formation of the DEK complex, which is required for histone chaperone activity. Thus, the present study suggests that at least one histone chaperone can be categorized as a type of transcriptional coactivator for nuclear receptors.
    Genes & development 01/2010; 24(2):159-70. · 12.08 Impact Factor
  • Mechanisms of Development - MECH DEVELOP. 01/2009; 126.
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    ABSTRACT: Neural stem cells called neuroblasts (NBs) generate a variety of neuronal and glial cells in the central nervous system of the Drosophila embryo. These NBs, few in number, are selected from a field of neuroepithelial (NE) cells. In the optic lobe of the third instar larva, all NE cells of the outer optic anlage (OOA) develop into either NBs that generate the medulla neurons or lamina neuron precursors of the adult visual system. The number of lamina and medulla neurons must be precisely regulated because photoreceptor neurons project their axons directly to corresponding lamina or medulla neurons. Here, we show that expression of the proneural protein Lethal of scute [L(1)sc] signals the transition of NE cells to NBs in the OOA. L(1)sc expression is transient, progressing in a synchronized and ordered ;proneural wave' that sweeps toward more lateral NEs. l(1)sc expression is sufficient to induce NBs and is necessary for timely onset of NB differentiation. Thus, proneural wave precedes and induces transition of NE cells to NBs. Unpaired (Upd), the ligand for the JAK/STAT signaling pathway, is expressed in the most lateral NE cells. JAK/STAT signaling negatively regulates proneural wave progression and controls the number of NBs in the optic lobe. Our findings suggest that NBs might be balanced with the number of lamina neurons by JAK/STAT regulation of proneural wave progression, thereby providing the developmental basis for the formation of a precise topographic map in the visual center.
    Development 05/2008; 135(8):1471-80. · 6.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Photoreceptor cell axons (R axons) innervate optic ganglia in the Drosophila brain through the tubular optic stalk. This structure consists of surface glia (SG) and forms independently of R axon projection. In a screen for genes involved in optic stalk formation, we identified Fak56D encoding a Drosophila homolog of mammalian focal adhesion kinase (FAK). FAK is a main component of the focal adhesion signaling that regulates various cellular events, including cell migration and morphology. We show that Fak56D mutation causes severe disruption of the optic stalk structure. These phenotypes were completely rescued by Fak56D transgene expression in the SG cells but not in photoreceptor cells. Moreover, Fak56D genetically interacts with myospheroid, which encodes an integrin beta subunit. In addition, we found that CdGAPr is also required for optic stalk formation and genetically interacts with Fak56D. CdGAPr encodes a GTPase-activating domain that is homologous to that of mammalian CdGAP, which functions in focal adhesion signaling. Hence the optic stalk is a simple monolayered structure that can serve as an ideal system for studying glial cell morphogenesis and the developmental role(s) of focal adhesion signaling.
    Development 05/2007; 134(8):1539-48. · 6.21 Impact Factor
  • Tanpakushitsu kakusan koso. Protein, nucleic acid, enzyme 12/2006; 51(13):1817-26.
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    ABSTRACT: During development of the Drosophila visual center, photoreceptor cells extend their axons (R axons) to the lamina ganglion layer, and trigger proliferation and differentiation of synaptic partners (lamina neurons) by delivering the inductive signal Hedgehog (Hh). This inductive mechanism helps to establish an orderly arrangement of connections between the R axons and lamina neurons, termed a retinotopic map because it results in positioning the lamina neurons in close vicinity to the corresponding R axons. We found that the bHLH-PAS transcription factor Single-minded (Sim) is induced by Hh in the lamina neurons and is required for the association of lamina neurons with R axons. In sim mutant brains, lamina neurons undergo the first step of differentiation but fail to associate with R axons. As a result, lamina neurons are set aside from R axons. The data reveal a novel mechanism for regulation of the interaction between axons and neuronal cell bodies that establishes precise neuronal networks.
    Development 04/2006; 133(5):791-800. · 6.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In Drosophila melanogaster, the axons of retinal photoreceptor cells extend to the first optic ganglion, the lamina, forming a topographic representation. Here we show that DWnt4, a secreted protein of the Wnt family, is the ventral cue for the lamina. In DWnt4 mutants, ventral retinal axons misprojected to the dorsal lamina. DWnt4 was normally expressed in the ventral half of the developing lamina and DWnt4 protein was detected along ventral retinal axons. Dfrizzled2 and dishevelled, respectively, encode a receptor and a signaling molecule required for Wnt signaling. Mutations in both genes caused DWnt4-like defects, and both genes were autonomously required in the retina, suggesting a direct role of DWnt4 in retinal axon guidance. In contrast, iroquois homeobox genes are the dorsal cues for the retina. Dorsal axons accumulated DWnt4 and misprojected to the ventral lamina in iroquois mutants; the phenotype was suppressed in iroquois Dfrizzled2 mutants, suggesting that iroquois may attenuate the competence of Dfrizzled2 to respond to DWnt4.
    Nature Neuroscience 02/2006; 9(1):67-75. · 15.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Drosophila visual system consists of the compound eyes and the optic ganglia in the brain. Among the eight photoreceptor (R) neurons, axons from the R1-R6 neurons stop between two layers of glial cells in the lamina, the most superficial ganglion in the optic lobe. Although it has been suggested that the lamina glia serve as intermediate targets of R axons, little is known about the mechanisms by which these cells develop. We show that DPP signaling plays a key role in this process. dpp is expressed at the margin of the lamina target region, where glial precursors reside. The generation of clones mutant for Medea, the DPP signal transducer, or inhibition of DPP signaling in this region resulted in defects in R neuron projection patterns and in the lamina morphology, which was caused by defects in the differentiation of the lamina glial cells. glial cells missing/glial cells deficient (gcm; also known as glide) is expressed shortly after glia precursors start to differentiate and migrate. Its expression depends on DPP; gcm is reduced or absent in dpp mutants or Medea clones, and ectopic activation of DPP signaling induces ectopic expression of gcm and REPO. In addition, R axon projections and lamina glia development were impaired by the expression of a dominant-negative form of gcm, suggesting that gcm indeed controls the differentiation of lamina glial cells. These results suggest that DPP signaling mediates the maturation of the lamina glia required for the correct R axon projection pattern by controlling the expression of gcm.
    Development 11/2005; 132(20):4587-98. · 6.21 Impact Factor