Precocious expression of the Glide/Gcm glial-promoting factor in Drosophila induces neurogenesis

Genetics. 2002 Mar;160(3):1095-106. doi: 10.1093/genetics/160.3.1095.


Neurons and glial cells depend on similar developmental pathways and often originate from common precursors; however, the differentiation of one or the other cell type depends on the activation of cell-specific pathways. In Drosophila, the differentiation of glial cells depends on a transcription factor, Glide/Gcm. This glial-promoting factor is both necessary and sufficient to induce the central and peripheral glial fates at the expense of the neuronal fate. In a screen for mutations affecting the adult peripheral nervous system, we have found a dominant mutation inducing supernumerary sensory organs. Surprisingly, this mutation is allelic to glide/gcm and induces precocious glide/gcm expression, which, in turn, activates the proneural genes. As a consequence, sensory organs are induced. Thus, temporal misregulation of the Glide/Gcm glial-promoting factor reveals a novel potential for this cell fate determinant. At the molecular level, this implies unpredicted features of the glide/gcm pathway. These findings also emphasize the requirement for both spatial and temporal glide/gcm regulation to achieve proper cell specification within the nervous system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila / embryology
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Neuroglia / cytology
  • Neuroglia / metabolism*
  • Neuropeptides / genetics*
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism
  • Peripheral Nervous System / cytology
  • Peripheral Nervous System / metabolism*
  • Trans-Activators / genetics*
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • GCM protein, Drosophila
  • Neuropeptides
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors