Selective expression of Knot/Collier, a transcriptional regulator of the EBF/Olf-1 family, endows the Drosophila sensory system with neuronal class-specific elaborated dendritic patterns

Genes Cells. 2007 Sep;12(9):1011-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2443.2007.01107.x.


Dendritic tree morphology is a hallmark of cellular diversity in the nervous system, and Drosophila dendritic arborization (da) neurons provide an excellent model system to study its molecular basis. The da neurons are classified into four classes I-IV in the order of increasing branching complexity. A transcriptional regulator of the early B-cell factor (EBF)/olfactory 1 (Olf-1) family, Knot (Kn)/Collier (Col) is expressed selectively in class IV neurons, which generate the most expansive and complicated dendritic trees in the four classes. Loss of kn function in class IV neurons greatly reduced the number of their dendritic branches. Conversely mis-expression of kn in classes I and II produced supernumerary higher-order branches, whereas class III-specific short and straight terminal branches was hardly formed by kn mis-expression. Neither kn loss of function nor mis-expression were associated with dramatic alterations in the expression patterns of two other transcriptional regulators, Abrupt (Ab) and Cut (Ct), which play important roles in shaping dendritic trees with distinct class specificity from Kn. In contrast, Kn was necessary and sufficient to drive expression of a gene that encodes a class IV-specific channel protein. Collectively, all of our results suggest that Kn exerts its cell-autonomous function to control the formation, and possibly the function, of class IV-like elaborated dendritic arbors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure*
  • Drosophila / cytology*
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Drosophila / physiology
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Immunochemistry
  • Morphogenesis / physiology
  • Neurons, Afferent / classification*
  • Neurons, Afferent / cytology*
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • ct protein, Drosophila
  • kn protein, Drosophila