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In JoVE (1)

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Articles by Daniel Vasiliauskas in JoVE

 JoVE Neuroscience

Dissection and Immunohistochemistry of Larval, Pupal and Adult Drosophila Retinas

1Department of Biology, New York University


JoVE 4347

The Drosophila retina is a crystal-like lattice composed of a small number of cell types that are generated in a stereotyped manner 1. Its amenability to sophisticated genetic analysis allows the study of complex developmental programs. This protocol describes dissections and immunohistochemistry of retinas at three discrete developmental stages, with a focus on photoreceptor differentiation.

Other articles by Daniel Vasiliauskas on PubMed

A Role for Hairy1 in Regulating Chick Limb Bud Growth

Limb growth in higher vertebrate embryos is initially due to the outgrowth of limb buds and later continues as a result of elongation of the skeletal elements. The distal limb mesenchyme is crucial for limb bud outgrowth. Members of the Hairy/Enhancer of Split family of DNA binding transcriptional repressors can be effectors of Notch signaling and often act to maintain cell populations in an undifferentiated, proliferating state, properties predicted for the distal limb mesenchyme. We find that a member of this family, c-hairy1, is expressed in this region and that two alternatively spliced isoforms, c-hairy1A and c-hairy1B, of this gene are produced, predicting proteins that differ in their basic, DNA binding, domains. Viral misexpression of c-hairy1A causes a reduction in size of the limb and shortened skeletal elements, without affecting the chondrocyte differentiation program. Misexpression of c-hairy1B leads to a significantly lesser shortening of the bones, implying functional differences between the two isoforms. We conclude that c-hairy1 regulates the size of the limb, suggesting a role for Notch signaling in the distal mesenchyme.

Iroquois Complex Genes Induce Co-expression of Rhodopsins in Drosophila

The Drosophila eye is a mosaic that results from the stochastic distribution of two ommatidial subtypes. Pale and yellow ommatidia can be distinguished by the expression of distinct rhodopsins and other pigments in their inner photoreceptors (R7 and R8), which are implicated in color vision. The pale subtype contains ultraviolet (UV)-absorbing Rh3 in R7 and blue-absorbing Rh5 in R8. The yellow subtype contains UV-absorbing Rh4 in R7 and green-absorbing Rh6 in R8. The exclusive expression of one rhodopsin per photoreceptor is a widespread phenomenon, although exceptions exist. The mechanisms leading to the exclusive expression or to co-expression of sensory receptors are currently not known. We describe a new class of ommatidia that co-express rh3 and rh4 in R7, but maintain normal exclusion between rh5 and rh6 in R8. These ommatidia, which are localized in the dorsal eye, result from the expansion of rh3 into the yellow-R7 subtype. Genes from the Iroquois Complex (Iro-C) are necessary and sufficient to induce co-expression in yR7. Iro-C genes allow photoreceptors to break the "one receptor-one neuron" rule, leading to a novel subtype of broad-spectrum UV- and green-sensitive ommatidia.

Maintaining a Stochastic Neuronal Cell Fate Decision

Sensory systems generally contain a number of neuronal subtypes that express distinct sensory receptor proteins. This diversity is generated through deterministic and stochastic cell fate choices, while maintaining the subtype often requires a distinct mechanism. In a study published in the February 1, 2009, issue of Genes & Development, Lesch and colleagues (pp. 345-358) describe a new transcription factor, NSY-7, that acts to stabilize a stochastic subtype choice in AWC chemosensory neurons in Caenorhabditis elegans.

Interlocked Feedforward Loops Control Cell-type-specific Rhodopsin Expression in the Drosophila Eye

How complex networks of activators and repressors lead to exquisitely specific cell-type determination during development is poorly understood. In the Drosophila eye, expression patterns of Rhodopsins define at least eight functionally distinct though related subtypes of photoreceptors. Here, we describe a role for the transcription factor gene defective proventriculus (dve) as a critical node in the network regulating Rhodopsin expression. dve is a shared component of two opposing, interlocked feedforward loops (FFLs). Orthodenticle and Dve interact in an incoherent FFL to repress Rhodopsin expression throughout the eye. In R7 and R8 photoreceptors, a coherent FFL relieves repression by Dve while activating Rhodopsin expression. Therefore, this network uses repression to restrict and combinatorial activation to induce cell-type-specific expression. Furthermore, Dve levels are finely tuned to yield cell-type- and region-specific repression or activation outcomes. This interlocked FFL motif may be a general mechanism to control terminal cell-fate specification.

Feedback from Rhodopsin Controls Rhodopsin Exclusion in Drosophila Photoreceptors

Sensory systems with high discriminatory power use neurons that express only one of several alternative sensory receptor proteins. This exclusive receptor gene expression restricts the sensitivity spectrum of neurons and is coordinated with the choice of their synaptic targets. However, little is known about how it is maintained throughout the life of a neuron. Here we show that the green-light sensing receptor rhodopsin 6 (Rh6) acts to exclude an alternative blue-sensitive rhodopsin 5 (Rh5) from a subset of Drosophila R8 photoreceptor neurons. Loss of Rh6 leads to a gradual expansion of Rh5 expression into all R8 photoreceptors of the ageing adult retina. The Rh6 feedback signal results in repression of the rh5 promoter and can be mimicked by other Drosophila rhodopsins; it is partly dependent on activation of rhodopsin by light, and relies on G(αq) activity, but not on the subsequent steps of the phototransduction cascade. Our observations reveal a thus far unappreciated spectral plasticity of R8 photoreceptors, and identify rhodopsin feedback as an exclusion mechanism.

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