Different levels of the homeodomain protein cut regulate distinct dendrite branching patterns of Drosophila multidendritic neurons

Cell. 2003 Mar 21;112(6):805-18. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(03)00160-0.


Functionally similar neurons can share common dendrite morphology, but how different neurons are directed into similar forms is not understood. Here, we show in embryonic and larval development that the level of Cut immunoreactivity in individual dendritic arborization (da) sensory neurons correlates with distinct patterns of terminal dendrites: high Cut in neurons with extensive unbranched terminal protrusions (dendritic spikes), medium levels in neurons with expansive and complex arbors, and low or nondetectable Cut in neurons with simple dendrites. Loss of Cut reduced dendrite growth and class-specific terminal branching, whereas overexpression of Cut or a mammalian homolog in lower-level neurons resulted in transformations toward the branch morphology of high-Cut neurons. Thus, different levels of a homeoprotein can regulate distinct patterns of dendrite branching.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dendrites / physiology*
  • Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins / chemistry
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / chemistry
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / physiology*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Larva
  • Morphogenesis
  • Mutation
  • Neurons, Afferent / classification
  • Neurons, Afferent / cytology
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology*
  • Phenotype


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins