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Authors: Sen, Aditya
Title: optomotor-blind and the horizontal and vertical system cells of the drosophila optic lobes
Online publication date: 17-Mar-2006
Language: english
Abstract: The horizontal and vertical system neurons (HS and VS cells) are part of a conserved set of lobula plate giant neurons (LPGNs) in the optic lobes of the adult brain. Structure and physiology of these cells are well known, predominantly from studies in larger Dipteran flies. Our knowledge about the ontogeny of these cells is limited and stems predominantly from laser ablation studies in larvae of the house fly Musca domestica. These studies suggested that the HS and VS cells stem from a single precursor, which, at least in Musca, has not yet divided in the second larval instar. A regulatory mutation (In(1)omb[H31]) in the Drosophila gene optomotor-blind (omb) leads to the selective loss of the adult HS and VS cells. This mutation causes a transient reduction in omb expression in what appears to be the entire optic lobe anlage (OLA) late in embryogenesis. Here, I have reinitiated the laser approach with the goal of identifying the presumptive embryonic HS/VS precursor cell in Drosophila. The usefulness of the laser ablation approach which has not been applied, so far, to cells lying deep within the Drosophila embryo, was first tested on two well defined embryonic sensory structures, the olfactory antenno-maxillary complex (AMC) and the light-sensitive Bolwing´s organ (BO). In the case of the AMC, the efficiency of the ablation procedure was demonstrated with a behavioral assay. When both AMCs were ablated, the response to an attractive odour (n-butanol) was clearly reduced. Interestingly, the larvae were not completely unresponsive but had a delayed response kinetics, indicating the existence of a second odour system. BO will be a useful test system for the selectivity of laser ablation when used at higher spatial resolution. An omb-Gal4 enhancer trap line was used to visualize the embryonic OLA by GFP fluorescence. This fluorescence allowed to guide the laser beam to the relevant structure within the embryo. The success of the ablations was monitored in the adult brain via the enhancer trap insertion A122 which selectively visualizes the HS and VS cell bodies. Due to their tight clustering, individual cells could not be identified in the embryonic OLA by conventional fluorescence microscopy. Nonetheless, systematic ablation of subdomains of the OLA allowed to localize the presumptive HS/VS precursor to a small area within the OLA, encompassing around 10 cells. Future studies at higher resolution should be able to identify the precursor as (an) individual cell(s). Most known lethal omb alleles do not complement the HS/VS phenotype of the In(1)omb[H31] allele. This is the expected behaviour of null alleles. Two lethal omb alleles that had been isolated previously by non-complementation of the omb hypomorphic allele bifid, have been reported, however, to complement In(1)omb[H31]. This report was based on low resolution paraffin histology of adult heads. Four mutations from this mutagenesis were characterized here in more detail (l(1)omb[11], l(1)omb[12], l(1)omb[13], and l(1)omb[15]). Using A122 as marker for the adult HS and VS cells, I could show, that only l(1)omb[11] can partly complement the HS/VS cell phenotype of In(1)omb[H31]. In order to identify the molecular lesions in these mutants, the exons and exon/intron junctions were sequenced in PCR-amplified material from heterozygous flies. Only in two mutants could the molecular cause for loss of omb function be identified: in l(1)omb[13]), a missense mutation causes the exchange of a highly conserved residue within the DNA-binding T-domain; in l(1)omb[15]), a nonsense mutation causes a C-terminal truncation. In the other two mutants apparently regulatory regions or not yet identified alternative exons are affected. To see whether mutant OMB protein in the missense mutant l(1)omb[13] is affected in DNA binding, electrophoretic shift assays on wildtype and mutant T-domains were performed. They revealed that the mutant no longer is able to bind the consensus palindromic T-box element.
DDC: 570 Biowissenschaften
570 Life sciences
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 10 Biologie
Place: Mainz
URN: urn:nbn:de:hebis:77-9717
Version: Original work
Publication type: Dissertation
License: In Copyright
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