N-Cadherin Orchestrates Self-Organization of Neurons within a Columnar Unit in the Drosophila Medulla

Journal: Journal of Neuroscience

Published: 2019-07-24

DOI: 10.1523/jneurosci.3107-18.2019

Affiliations: 5

Authors: 11

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Research Highlight

Mechanism behind column-like structures in the brain uncovered

© Vaclav Hykes/EyeEm/Getty

© Vaclav Hykes/EyeEm/Getty

A study in fruit flies has found why neurons in the brain pattern themselves into column-like stacks.

The brain contains column-like structures, but it has been who these columns form in the developing brain.

Using the fly visual centre as a model for brain development more generally, a team led by Kanazawa University researchers has found that three core neurons in the larval brain form concentric rings held together by an adhesion protein called N-cadherin. As the fly matures, these flat disks of neuronal bundles fashion themselves into three-dimensional columns.

Using mathematical modelling and lab experiments with mutant flies, the researchers discovered that the differential expression of N-cadherin between neuron types leads to different adhesive properties that give rise to the columnar pattern.

The same physical processes could be behind the structural organization of neurons in the human brain as well.

Supported content

  1. Journal of Neuroscience 39, 5861–5880 (2019). doi: 10.1523/jneurosci.3107-18.2019
Institutions Share
Kanazawa University (KU), Japan 0.55
Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech), Japan 0.27
Ryukoku University, Japan 0.09
Imperial College London (ICL), United Kingdom (UK) 0.09