Spatial and temporal patterns of neurogenesis in the central nervous system of Drosophila melanogaster

Dev Biol. 1988 Jan;125(1):145-57. doi: 10.1016/0012-1606(88)90067-x.


Neurogenesis in the ventral CNS of Drosophila was studied using staining with toluidine blue and birth dating of cells monitored by incorporation of bromodeoxyuridine into DNA. The ventral CNS of the larva contains sets of neuronal stem cells (neuroblasts) which are thought to be persistent embryonic neuroblasts. Each thoracic neuromere has at least 47 of these stem cells whereas most abdominal neuromeres possess only 6. They occur in stereotyped locations so that the same neuroblast can be followed from animal to animal. The thoracic neuroblasts begin enlarging at 18-26 hr of larval life, DNA synthesis commences by 31-36 hr, and the first mitoses occur shortly thereafter. Mitotic activity continues through the remainder of larval life with the neuroblasts showing a minimum cell cycle time of less than 55 min during the late third larval instar. By 12 hr after pupariation each neuroblast has produced approximately 100 progeny which are collected with it into a discrete packet. The progeny accumulate in an immature, arrested state and only finish their differentiation into mature neurons with the onset of metamorphosis. Most of the abdominal neuroblasts differ from their thoracic counterparts in their minimum cell cycle time (less than 2 hr) and the duration of proliferation (from about 50 to 90 hr of larval life). Neurons produced during the larval stage account for more than 90% of the cells found in the ventral CNS of the adult.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bromodeoxyuridine / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Central Nervous System / growth & development*
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / growth & development*
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Larva / growth & development
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Tolonium Chloride


  • Tolonium Chloride
  • DNA
  • Bromodeoxyuridine