Systematic expression profiling of Dpr and DIP genes reveals cell surface codes in Drosophila larval motor and sensory neurons

Development. 2022 May 15;149(10):dev200355. doi: 10.1242/dev.200355. Epub 2022 May 19.


In complex nervous systems, neurons must identify their correct partners to form synaptic connections. The prevailing model to ensure correct recognition posits that cell-surface proteins (CSPs) in individual neurons act as identification tags. Thus, knowing what cells express which CSPs would provide insights into neural development, synaptic connectivity, and nervous system evolution. Here, we investigated expression of Dpr and DIP genes, two CSP subfamilies belonging to the immunoglobulin superfamily, in Drosophila larval motor neurons (MNs), muscles, glia and sensory neurons (SNs) using a collection of GAL4 driver lines. We found that Dpr genes are more broadly expressed than DIP genes in MNs and SNs, and each examined neuron expresses a unique combination of Dpr and DIP genes. Interestingly, many Dpr and DIP genes are not robustly expressed, but are found instead in gradient and temporal expression patterns. In addition, the unique expression patterns of Dpr and DIP genes revealed three uncharacterized MNs. This study sets the stage for exploring the functions of Dpr and DIP genes in Drosophila MNs and SNs and provides genetic access to subsets of neurons.

Keywords: DIP; Dpr; Motor neuron; Sensory neuron; Synaptic recognition.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila Proteins* / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins* / metabolism
  • Drosophila* / metabolism
  • Larva / genetics
  • Larva / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / metabolism
  • Synapses / metabolism


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins