Neurogenesis of the peripheral nervous system in Drosophila embryos: DNA replication patterns and cell lineages

Neuron. 1989 Jul;3(1):21-32. doi: 10.1016/0896-6273(89)90112-8.


Cell lineages that give rise to the PNS were studied using the thymidine analog 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) to visualized DNA replication immunocytochemically. The precursors of the PNS in the body segments of Drosophila embryos replicate their DNA in a spatially and temporally stereotyped pattern. The sequence of DNA replication within developing sensory organs suggests particular lineage relationships of the cells that constitute a sensory organ, i.e., neuron and associated support cells. In embryos that are mutant for the achaete-scute complex or daughterless, in which most or all of the PNS is missing, no BrdU-labeled cells were found in the appropriate regions, suggesting that these PNS precursors either do not form or fail to replicate. Thus, the BrdU technique allows determination as to whether a mutation affects the PNS precursors or terminal differentiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bromodeoxyuridine / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Line
  • DNA / biosynthesis
  • DNA Replication*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / embryology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Ectoderm / cytology
  • Ectoderm / metabolism
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mutation
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Peripheral Nerves / cytology
  • Peripheral Nerves / embryology


  • DNA
  • Bromodeoxyuridine