1. Developmental Biology
  2. Neuroscience
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Unc-4 acts to promote neuronal identity and development of the take-off circuit in the Drosophila CNS

  1. Haluk Lacin  Is a corresponding author
  2. W Ryan Williamson
  3. Gwyneth M Card
  4. James B Skeath
  5. James W Truman
  1. Washington University School of Medicine, United States
  2. Janelia Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, United States
Research Article
  • Cited 4
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Cite this article as: eLife 2020;9:e55007 doi: 10.7554/eLife.55007

Abstract

The Drosophila ventral nerve cord (VNC) is composed of thousands of neurons born from a set of individually identifiable stem cells. The VNC harbors neuronal circuits required to execute key behaviors, such as flying and walking. Leveraging the lineage-based functional organization of the VNC, we investigated the developmental and molecular basis of behavior by focusing on lineage-specific functions of the homeodomain transcription factor, Unc-4. We found that Unc-4 functions in lineage 11A to promote cholinergic neurotransmitter identity and suppress the GABA fate. In lineage 7B, Unc-4 promotes proper neuronal projections to the leg neuropil and a specific flight-related take-off behavior. We also uncovered that Unc-4 acts peripherally to promote proprioceptive sensory organ development and the execution of specific leg-related behaviors. Through time-dependent conditional knock-out of Unc-4, we found that its function is required during development, but not in the adult, to regulate the above events.

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All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Haluk Lacin

    Genetics, Washington University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, United States
    For correspondence
    lacinhaluk@gmail.com
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-2468-9618
  2. W Ryan Williamson

    Janelia Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Gwyneth M Card

    Janelia Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-7679-3639
  4. James B Skeath

    Genetics, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. James W Truman

    Janelia Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-9209-5435

Funding

NIH Office of the Director (NS083086)

  • James B Skeath

HHMI

  • James W Truman

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. K VijayRaghavan, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, India

Publication history

  1. Received: January 9, 2020
  2. Accepted: March 27, 2020
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: March 27, 2020 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: April 14, 2020 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2020, Lacin et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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