Regulatory programs controlling profileration during Drosophila nervous system development

Detta är en avhandling från Linköping : Linköping University Electronic Press

Sammanfattning: The central nervous system (CNS) is the most complex organ in the body, responsible for complex functions, including thinking, reasoning and memory. The CNS contains cells of many different types, often generated in vast numbers. Hence, CNS development requires precise genetic control of both cell fate and of cell proliferation, to generate the right number of cells, with the proper identity, and in the proper location. The cells also need to make connections with each other for correct signaling and function. This complexity evokes the question of how this is regulated. How does the stem cells, responsible for building the CNS, know how many times to divide, and how does the daughters know which identity to acquire and in which location they shall end up? During Drosophila melanogaster development, the neuroblasts (NBs) are responsible for generating the CNS. In each hemisegment, every NB is unique in identity, and generates a predetermined number of daughters with specific identities. The lineages of different NBs vary in size, but are always the same for each specific NB, and the division modes of each NBs is hence stereotyped. Most NBs start dividing by renewing themselves while generating daughters that will in turn divide once to generate two neurons and/or glia (denoted type I mode). Many, maybe all, NBs later switch to generating daughters that will differentiate directly into a neuron or glia (denoted type 0 mode). This type I>0 switch occurs at different time-points during lineage progression, and influences the total numbers of cells generated from a single NB.The work presented in this thesis aimed at investigating the genetic regulation of proliferation, with particular focus on the type I>0 switch. In the first project, the implication of the Notch pathway on the type I>0 switch was studied. Mutants of the Notch pathway do not switch, and the results show that the Notch pathway regulates the switch by activation of several target genes, both regulators and cell cycle genes. One of the target genes, the E(spl)-C genes, have been difficult to study due to functional redundancy. This study reveals that even though they can functionally compensate for each other, they have individual functions in different lineages. Regarding cell cycle genes, both Notch and E(spl)-C regulate several key cell cycle genes, and molecular analysis indicated that this regulation is direct. In the second project we studied the seq gene, previously identified in a genetic screen. We found that seq controls the type I>0 switch by regulating the key cell cycle genes, but also through interplay with the Notch pathway. Notch and seq stop proliferation, and in the third project we wanted to identify genes that drive proliferation. We found that there is battery of early NB genes, socalled early factors, which activate the cell cycle, and drive NB and daughter proliferation. These are gradually replaced by late regulators, and the interplay between early and late factors acts to achieve precise control of lineage progression.The work presented here increases our understanding of how regulatory programs act to control the development of the CNS; to generate the right number of cells of different identities. These results demonstrate the importance of correct regulation of proliferation in both stem cells and daughters. Problems in this control can result in either an underdeveloped CNS or loss of control such as in cancer. Knowledge about these regulatory programs can contribute to the development of therapeutics against these diseases.

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