Single cell transcriptome atlas of the Drosophila larval brain

Elife. 2019 Nov 20;8:e50354. doi: 10.7554/eLife.50354.


Cell diversity of the brain and how it is affected by starvation, remains largely unknown. Here, we introduce a single cell transcriptome atlas of the entire Drosophila first instar larval brain. We first assigned cell-type identity based on known marker genes, distinguishing five major groups: neural progenitors, differentiated neurons, glia, undifferentiated neurons and non-neural cells. All major classes were further subdivided into multiple subtypes, revealing biological features of various cell-types. We further assessed transcriptional changes in response to starvation at the single-cell level. While after starvation the composition of the brain remains unaffected, transcriptional profile of several cell clusters changed. Intriguingly, different cell-types show very distinct responses to starvation, suggesting the presence of cell-specific programs for nutrition availability. Establishing a single-cell transcriptome atlas of the larval brain provides a powerful tool to explore cell diversity and assess genetic profiles from developmental, functional and behavioral perspectives.

Keywords: D. melanogaster; Drosophila; brain; cell diversity; larva; nervous system; neuroscience; single cell transcriptome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology*
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Drosophila / growth & development*
  • Larva / growth & development*
  • Single-Cell Analysis
  • Starvation
  • Transcriptome*

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE134722