Slit neuronal secretion coordinates optic lobe morphogenesis in Drosophila. 


The complexity of the nervous system requires the coordination of multiple cellular processes during development. Among them, we find boundary formation, axon guidance, cell migration and cell segregation. Understanding how different cell populations such as glial cells, developing neurons and neural stem cells contribute to the formation of boundaries and morphogenesis in the nervous system is a critical question in neurobiology. Slit is an evolutionary conserved protein essential for the development of the nervous system. For signaling, Slit has to bind to its cognate receptor Robo, a single-pass transmembrane protein. Although the Slit/Robo signaling pathway is well known for its involvement in axon guidance, it has also been associated to boundary formation in the Drosophila visual system. In the optic lobe, Slit is expressed in glial cells, positioned at the boundaries between developing neuropils, and in neurons of the medulla ganglia. Although it has been assumed that glial cells provide Slit to the system, the contribution of the neuronal expression has not been tested. Here, we show that, contrary to what was previously thought, Slit protein provided by medulla neurons is also required for boundary formation and morphogenesis of the optic lobe. Furthermore, tissue specific rescue using modified versions of Slit demonstrates that this protein acts at long range and does not require processing by extracellular proteases. Our data shed new light on our understanding of the cellular mechanisms involved in Slit function in the fly visual system morphogenesis.

Caipo L, González-Ramà­rez MC, Guzmán-Palma P, Contreras EG, Palominos T, Fuenzalida-Uribe N, Hassan BA, Campusano JM, Sierralta J, Oliva C

Developmental Biology

octubre 10, 2019


Investigador BNI: Jimena Sierralta