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Differential microarray analysis of Drosophila mushroom body transcripts using chemical ablation

National Academy of Sciences
Publication Date
  • Biological Sciences
  • Biology


Mushroom bodies (MBs) are the centers for olfactory associative learning and elementary cognitive functions in the Drosophila brain. As a way to systematically elucidate genes preferentially expressed in MBs, we have analyzed genome-wide alterations in transcript profiles associated with MB ablation by hydroxyurea. We selected 100 genes based on microarray data and examined their expression patterns in the brain by in situ hybridization. Seventy genes were found to be expressed in the posterodorsal cortex, which harbors the MB cell bodies. These genes encode proteins of diverse functions, including transcription, signaling, cell adhesion, channels, and transporters. Moreover, we have examined developmental functions of 40 of the microarray-identified genes by transgenic RNA interference; 8 genes were found to cause mild-to-strong MB defects when suppressed with a MB-Gal4 driver. These results provide important information not only on the repertoire of genes that control MB development but also on the repertoire of neural factors that may have important physiological functions in MB plasticity.

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