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Organization and metamorphosis of glia in the Drosophila visual system

Authors

  • Tara N. Edwards,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biology, Life Sciences Centre, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada
    2. Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Life Sciences Centre, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada
    • Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Dalhousie University, P.O. Box 15000, Halifax, NS Canada B3H 4R2
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  • Andrea C. Nuschke,

    1. Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Life Sciences Centre, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada
    2. Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Sir Charles Tupper Medical Bldg., Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada
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  • Aljoscha Nern,

    1. Janelia Farm Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, Virginia
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  • Ian A. Meinertzhagen

    1. Department of Biology, Life Sciences Centre, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada
    2. Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Life Sciences Centre, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada
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Abstract

The visual system of Drosophila is an excellent model for determining the interactions that direct the differentiation of the nervous system's many unique cell types. Glia are essential not only in the development of the nervous system, but also in the function of those neurons with which they become associated in the adult. Given their role in visual system development and adult function we need to both accurately and reliably identify the different subtypes of glia, and to relate the glial subtypes in the larval brain to those previously described for the adult. We viewed driver expression in subsets of larval eye disc glia through the earliest stages of pupal development to reveal the counterparts of these cells in the adult. Two populations of glia exist in the lamina, the first neuropil of the adult optic lobe: those that arise from precursors in the eye-disc/optic stalk and those that arise from precursors in the brain. In both cases, a single larval source gives rise to at least three different types of adult glia. Furthermore, analysis of glial cell types in the second neuropil, the medulla, has identified at least four types of astrocyte-like (reticular) glia. Our clarification of the lamina's adult glia and identification of their larval origins, particularly the respective eye disc and larval brain contributions, begin to define developmental interactions which establish the different subtypes of glia. J. Comp. Neurol. 520:2067–2085, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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