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Polycomb group genes are required for neural stem cell survival in postembryonic neurogenesis of Drosophila

Bello, Bruno and Holbro, Niklaus and Reichert, Heinrich. (2007) Polycomb group genes are required for neural stem cell survival in postembryonic neurogenesis of Drosophila. Development, Vol. 134, H. 6. pp. 1091-1099.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5250929

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Abstract

Genes of the Polycomb group (PcG) are part of a cellular memory system that maintains appropriate inactive states of Hox gene expression in Drosophila. Here, we investigate the role of PcG genes in postembryonic development of the Drosophila CNS. We use mosaic-based MARCM techniques to analyze the role of these genes in the persistent larval neuroblasts and progeny of the central brain and thoracic ganglia. We find that proliferation in postembryonic neuroblast clones is dramatically reduced in the absence of Polycomb, Sex combs extra, Sex combs on midleg, Enhancer of zeste or Suppressor of zeste 12. The proliferation defects in these PcG mutants are due to the loss of neuroblasts by apoptosis in the mutant clones. Mutation of PcG genes in postembryonic lineages results in the ectopic expression of posterior Hox genes, and experimentally induced misexpression of posterior Hox genes, which in the wild type causes neuroblast death, mimics the PcG loss-of-function phenotype. Significantly, full restoration of wild-type-like properties in the PcG mutant lineages is achieved by blocking apoptosis in the neuroblast clones. These findings indicate that loss of PcG genes leads to aberrant derepression of posterior Hox gene expression in postembryonic neuroblasts, which causes neuroblast death and termination of proliferation in the mutant clones. Our findings demonstrate that PcG genes are essential for normal neuroblast survival in the postembryonic CNS of Drosophila. Moreover, together with data on mammalian PcG genes, they imply that repression of aberrant reactivation of Hox genes may be a general and evolutionarily conserved role for PcG genes in CNS development.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Biozentrum > Former Organization Units Biozentrum > Molecular Zoology (Reichert)
UniBasel Contributors:Reichert, Heinrich
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Bibsysno:Link to catalogue
Publisher:Company of Biologists
ISSN:0950-1991
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:22 Mar 2012 14:19
Deposited On:22 Mar 2012 13:16

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