Polarity and intracellular compartmentalization of Drosophila neurons

Melissa M. Rolls, Daisuke Satoh, Peter J. Clyne, Astra L. Henner, Tadashi Uemura, Chris Q. Doe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations


Background: Proper neuronal function depends on forming three primary subcellular compartments: axons, dendrites, and soma. Each compartment has a specialized function (the axon to send information, dendrites to receive information, and the soma is where most cellular components are produced). In mammalian neurons, each primary compartment has distinctive molecular and morphological features, as well as smaller domains, such as the axon initial segment, that have more specialized functions. How neuronal subcellular compartments are established and maintained is not well understood. Genetic studies in Drosophila have provided insight into other areas of neurobiology, but it is not known whether flies are a good system in which to study neuronal polarity as a comprehensive analysis of Drosophila neuronal subcellular organization has not been performed. Results: Here we use new and previously characterized markers to examine Drosophila neuronal compartments. We find that: axons and dendrites can accumulate different microtubule-binding proteins; protein synthesis machinery is concentrated in the cell body; pre- and post-synaptic sites localize to distinct regions of the neuron; and specializations similar to the initial segment are present. In addition, we track EBI-GFP dynamics and determine microtubules in axons and dendrites have opposite polarity. Conclusion: We conclude that Drosophila will be a powerful system to study the establishment and maintenance of neuronal compartments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7
JournalNeural Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental Neuroscience


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