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Drosophila central brain formation requires Robo proteins

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The Robo proteins have been extensively studied in the Drosophila embryonic ventral nerve cord, in which their expression level controls the midline crossing and optic lobe formation, but nothing is known about their activities during adult central brain formation. We have analyzed how Robo guidance cues influence central complex (CX) and mushroom body (MB) formation. Mutations of robo2 and robo3 confer a series of strong MB and CX defects. We found that the Robo2 and Robo3 proteins are expressed in two structures of the developing CX, the fan-shaped body (FB) and the noduli (NO), and by fibers across the central neuropile. We conclude that the Robo2 and Robo3 receptors play postembryonic roles during central brain formation.

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We thank B.J. Dickson for providing Robo2 and Robo3 antibodies and robo2 and robo3 fly stocks; R.L. Davis for the anti-DCO antibody; S. Brown and C. Talbot for confocal microscopy expertise; and G. Isabel, G. Didelot, and A. Pascual for their fruitful comments on the manuscript. This work was supported by research grants from the Association pour la Recherche contre le Cancer, the Ligue contre le Cancer, and the Human Frontier Science Program.

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Correspondence to Emmanuelle Nicolas.

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Communicated by P. Simpson.

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Nicolas, E., Preat, T. Drosophila central brain formation requires Robo proteins. Dev Genes Evol 215, 530–536 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00427-005-0009-8

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  • Brain
  • Mushroom body
  • Drosophila
  • Metamorphosis
  • Robo