glial cells missing: a genetic switch that controls glial versus neuronal fate

Cell. 1995 Sep 22;82(6):1013-23. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(95)90280-5.


The glial cells missing (gcm) gene in Drosophila encodes a novel nuclear protein that is transiently expressed early in the development of nearly all glia. In loss-of-function gcm mutant alleles, nearly all glia fail to differentiate, and, where we can follow them in the PNS, are transformed into neurons. In gain-if-function gcm conditions using transgenic constructs that drive ectopic gcm expression, many presumptive neurons are transformed into glia. Thus, gcm appears to function as a binary genetic switch for glia versus neurons. In the presence of gcm protein, presumptive neurons become glia, while in its absence, presumptive glia become neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Central Nervous System / embryology
  • Central Nervous System / physiology
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology
  • Genes, Insect / physiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation / physiology
  • Neuroglia / cytology*
  • Neuroglia / physiology
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Peripheral Nervous System / embryology
  • Peripheral Nervous System / physiology


  • Nuclear Proteins

Associated data

  • GENBANK/U34039