Morphogenesis and proliferation of the larval brain glia in Drosophila

Dev Biol. 2005 Jul 1;283(1):191-203. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2005.04.024.


Glial cells subserve a number of essential functions during development and function of the Drosophila brain, including the control of neuroblast proliferation, neuronal positioning and axonal pathfinding. Three major classes of glial cells have been identified. Surface glia surround the brain externally. Neuropile glia ensheath the neuropile and form septa within the neuropile that define distinct neuropile compartments. Cortex glia form a scaffold around neuronal cell bodies in the cortex. In this paper we have used global glial markers and GFP-labeled clones to describe the morphology, development and proliferation pattern of the three types of glial cells in the larval brain. We show that both surface glia and cortex glia contribute to the glial layer surrounding the brain. Cortex glia also form a significant part of the glial layer surrounding the neuropile. Glial cell numbers increase slowly during the first half of larval development but show a rapid incline in the third larval instar. This increase results from mitosis of differentiated glia, but, more significantly, from the proliferation of neuroblasts.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / embryology*
  • Bromodeoxyuridine
  • Cell Division
  • Drosophila / embryology*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / cytology
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / physiology
  • Larva / physiology
  • Morphogenesis*
  • Neuroglia / cytology
  • Neuroglia / physiology


  • Bromodeoxyuridine