Photoreceptors generate neuronal diversity in their target field through a Hedgehog morphogen gradient in Drosophila

  1. Matthew P Bostock
  2. Anadika R Prasad
  3. Alicia Donoghue
  4. Vilaiwan M Fernandes  Is a corresponding author
  1. University College London, United Kingdom

Abstract

Defining the origin of neuronal diversity is a major challenge in developmental neurobiology. The Drosophila visual system is an excellent paradigm to study how cellular diversity is generated. Photoreceptors from the eye disc grow their axons into the optic lobe and secrete Hedgehog (Hh) to induce the lamina, such that for every unit eye there is a corresponding lamina unit made up of post-mitotic precursors stacked into columns. Each differentiated column contains five lamina neuron types (L1-L5), making it the simplest neuropil in the optic lobe, yet how this diversity is generated was unknown. Here, we found that Hh pathway activity is graded along the distal-proximal axis of lamina columns and further determined that this gradient in pathway activity arises from a gradient of Hh ligand. We manipulated Hh pathway activity cell-autonomously in lamina precursors and non-cell autonomously by inactivating the Hh ligand, and by knocking it down in photoreceptors. These manipulations showed that different thresholds of activity specify unique cell identities, with more proximal cell types specified in response to progressively lower Hh levels. Thus, our data establish that Hh acts as a morphogen to pattern the lamina. Although, this is the first such report during Drosophila nervous system development, our work uncovers a remarkable similarity with the vertebrate neural tube, which is patterned by Sonic Hedgehog. Altogether, we show that differentiating neurons can regulate the neuronal diversity of their distant target fields through morphogen gradients.

Data availability

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

The following previously published data sets were used

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Matthew P Bostock

    Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University College London, London, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  2. Anadika R Prasad

    Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University College London, London, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  3. Alicia Donoghue

    Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University College London, London, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
  4. Vilaiwan M Fernandes

    Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University College London, London, United Kingdom
    For correspondence
    vilaiwan.fernandes@ucl.ac.uk
    Competing interests
    Vilaiwan M Fernandes, Reviewing editor, eLife.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-1991-7252

Funding

Wellcome Trust (210472/Z/18/Z)

  • Vilaiwan M Fernandes

University College London (Biosciences Graduate Research Scholarship)

  • Matthew P Bostock

University College London (Overseas Research Scholarship and Graduate Research Scholarship)

  • Anadika R Prasad

University College London (Research Opportunity Scholarship)

  • Alicia Donoghue

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

Reviewing Editor

  1. Sonia Sen, Tata Institute for Genetics and Society, India

Version history

  1. Preprint posted: February 22, 2022 (view preprint)
  2. Received: February 22, 2022
  3. Accepted: August 23, 2022
  4. Accepted Manuscript published: August 25, 2022 (version 1)
  5. Version of Record published: September 23, 2022 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2022, Bostock 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.

Metrics

  • 1,038
    Page views
  • 308
    Downloads
  • 1
    Citations

Article citation count generated by polling the highest count across the following sources: Crossref, PubMed Central, Scopus.

Download links

A two-part list of links to download the article, or parts of the article, in various formats.

Downloads (link to download the article as PDF)

Open citations (links to open the citations from this article in various online reference manager services)

Cite this article (links to download the citations from this article in formats compatible with various reference manager tools)

  1. Matthew P Bostock
  2. Anadika R Prasad
  3. Alicia Donoghue
  4. Vilaiwan M Fernandes
(2022)
Photoreceptors generate neuronal diversity in their target field through a Hedgehog morphogen gradient in Drosophila
eLife 11:e78093.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.78093

Share this article

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.78093

Further reading

    1. Developmental Biology
    Nicolas G Brukman, Clari Valansi, Benjamin Podbilewicz
    Research Article Updated

    The fusion of mammalian gametes requires the interaction between IZUMO1 on the sperm and JUNO on the oocyte. We have recently shown that ectopic expression of mouse IZUMO1 induces cell-cell fusion and that sperm can fuse to fibroblasts expressing JUNO. Here, we found that the incubation of mouse sperm with hamster fibroblasts or human epithelial cells in culture induces the fusion between these somatic cells and the formation of syncytia, a pattern previously observed with some animal viruses. This sperm-induced cell-cell fusion requires a species-matching JUNO on both fusing cells, can be blocked by an antibody against IZUMO1, and does not rely on the synthesis of new proteins. The fusion is dependent on the sperm’s fusogenic capacity, making this a reliable, fast, and simple method for predicting sperm function during the diagnosis of male infertility.

    1. Biochemistry and Chemical Biology
    2. Developmental Biology
    Sima Stroganov, Talia Harris ... Michal Neeman
    Research Article Updated

    Background:

    Fetal growth restriction (FGR) is a pregnancy complication in which a newborn fails to achieve its growth potential, increasing the risk of perinatal morbidity and mortality. Chronic maternal gestational hypoxia, as well as placental insufficiency are associated with increased FGR incidence; however, the molecular mechanisms underlying FGR remain unknown.

    Methods:

    Pregnant mice were subjected to acute or chronic hypoxia (12.5% O2) resulting in reduced fetal weight. Placenta oxygen transport was assessed by blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) contrast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The placentae were analyzed via immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization. Human placentae were selected from FGR and matched controls and analyzed by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Maternal and cord sera were analyzed by mass spectrometry.

    Results:

    We show that murine acute and chronic gestational hypoxia recapitulates FGR phenotype and affects placental structure and morphology. Gestational hypoxia decreased labyrinth area, increased the incidence of red blood cells (RBCs) in the labyrinth while expanding the placental spiral arteries (SpA) diameter. Hypoxic placentae exhibited higher hemoglobin-oxygen affinity compared to the control. Placental abundance of Bisphosphoglycerate mutase (BPGM) was upregulated in the syncytiotrophoblast and spiral artery trophoblast cells (SpA TGCs) in the murine gestational hypoxia groups compared to the control. Hif1α levels were higher in the acute hypoxia group compared to the control. In contrast, human FGR placentae exhibited reduced BPGM levels in the syncytiotrophoblast layer compared to placentae from healthy uncomplicated pregnancies. Levels of 2,3 BPG, the product of BPGM, were lower in cord serum of human FGR placentae compared to control. Polar expression of BPGM was found in both human and mouse placentae syncytiotrophoblast, with higher expression facing the maternal circulation. Moreover, in the murine SpA TGCs expression of BPGM was concentrated exclusively in the apical cell side, in direct proximity to the maternal circulation.

    Conclusions:

    This study suggests a possible involvement of placental BPGM in maternal-fetal oxygen transfer, and in the pathophysiology of FGR.

    Funding:

    This work was supported by the Weizmann Krenter Foundation and the Weizmann – Ichilov (Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center) Collaborative Grant in Biomedical Research, by the Minerva Foundation, by the ISF KillCorona grant 3777/19.