Nitric oxide and cyclic GMP regulate retinal patterning in the optic lobe of Drosophila

Neuron. 1998 Jan;20(1):83-93. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(00)80436-5.


The photoreceptors of Drosophila express a nitric oxide-sensitive guanylate cyclase during the first half of metamorphosis, when postsynaptic elements in the optic lobe are being selected. Throughout this period, the optic lobes show NADPH-diaphorase activity and stain with an antibody to nitric oxide synthase (NOS). The NOS inhibitor L-NAME, the NO scavenger PTIO, the sGC inhibitor ODQ, and methylene blue, which inhibits NOS and guanylate cyclase, each caused the disorganization of retinal projections and extension of photoreceptor axons beyond their normal synaptic layers in vitro. The disruptive effects of L-NAME were prevented with the addition of 8-bromo-cGMP. These results suggest NO and cGMP act to stabilize retinal growth cones at the start of synaptic assembly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / physiology
  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Cyclic GMP / analogs & derivatives
  • Cyclic GMP / pharmacology
  • Cyclic GMP / physiology*
  • Drosophila / physiology*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Ganglia, Sensory / enzymology
  • Guanylate Cyclase / metabolism
  • Metamorphosis, Biological
  • Methylene Blue / pharmacology
  • NADPH Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • NG-Nitroarginine Methyl Ester / pharmacology
  • Nitric Oxide / physiology*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / metabolism
  • Optic Lobe, Nonmammalian / physiology*
  • Optic Nerve / enzymology
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Invertebrate / metabolism
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • 8-bromocyclic GMP
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • NADPH Dehydrogenase
  • Guanylate Cyclase
  • Cyclic GMP
  • Methylene Blue
  • NG-Nitroarginine Methyl Ester