Neuroscience Bulletin

, Volume 35, Issue 6, pp 979–995 | Cite as

Expression of Mammalian BM88/CEND1 in Drosophila Affects Nervous System Development by Interfering with Precursor Cell Formation

  • Athanasios TzortzopoulosEmail author
  • Dimitra Thomaidou
  • Maria Gaitanou
  • Rebecca Matsas
  • Efthimios Skoulakis
Original Article


We used Drosophila melanogaster as an experimental model to express mouse and pig BM88/CEND1 (cell cycle exit and neuronal differentiation 1) in order to investigate its potential functional effects on Drosophila neurogenesis. BM88/CEND1 is a neuron-specific protein whose function is implicated in triggering cells to exit from the cell cycle and differentiate towards a neuronal phenotype. Transgenic flies expressing either mouse or pig BM88/CEND1 in the nervous system had severe neuronal phenotypes with variable expressivity at various stages of embryonic development. In early embryonic stage 10, BM88/CEND1 expression led to an increase in the neural-specific antigenicity of neuroectoderm at the expense of precursor cells [neuroblasts (Nbs) and ganglion mother cells (GMCs)] including the defective formation and differentiation of the MP2 precursors, whereas at later stages (12–15), protein accumulation induced gross morphological defects primarily in the CNS accompanied by a reduction of Nb and GMC markers. Furthermore, the neuronal precursor cells of embryos expressing BM88/CEND1 failed to carry out proper cell-cycle progression as revealed by the disorganized expression patterns of specific cell-cycle markers. BM88/CEND1 accumulation in the Drosophila eye affected normal eye disc development by disrupting the ommatidia. Finally, we demonstrated that expression of BM88/CEND1 modified/reduced the levels of activated MAP kinase indicating a functional effect of BM88/CEND1 on the MAPK signaling pathway. Our findings suggest that the expression of mammalian BM88/CEND1 in Drosophila exerts specific functional effects associated with neuronal precursor cell formation during embryonic neurogenesis and proper eye disc development. This study also validates the use of Drosophila as a powerful model system in which to investigate gene function and the underlying molecular mechanisms.


Drosophila Neurogenesis BM88/CEND1 Nervous system Protein function 



This work was supported by the General Secretariat of Research and Technology-EPAN (Competitiveness and Entepreneurship) Program. We thank Prof. C. Delidakis for providing flies and reagents, Dr. X. Yang for providing the anti-worniu antibody, and the Developmental Studies Hybridoma Bank for antibodies.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

12264_2019_386_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (518 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 519 kb)


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Copyright information

© Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, CAS 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Athanasios Tzortzopoulos
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dimitra Thomaidou
    • 2
  • Maria Gaitanou
    • 2
  • Rebecca Matsas
    • 2
  • Efthimios Skoulakis
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Clinical BiochemistryAghia Sophia Children’s HospitalAthensGreece
  2. 2.Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular NeurobiologyHellenic Pasteur InstituteAthensGreece
  3. 3.“Alexander Fleming” Biomedical Sciences Research CentreAthensGreece

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