Subtype-specific neuronal remodeling duringDrosophilametamorphosis

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During metamorphosis in holometabolous insects, the nervous system undergoes dramatic remodeling as it transitions from its larval to its adult form. Many neurons are generated through post-embryonic neurogenesis to have adult-specific roles, but perhaps more striking is the dramatic remodeling that occurs to transition neurons from functioning in the larval to the adult nervous system. These neurons exhibit a remarkable degree of plasticity during this transition; many subsets undergo programmed cell death, others remodel their axonal and dendritic arbors extensively, whereas others undergo trans-differentiation to alter their terminal differentiation gene expression profiles. Yet other neurons appear to be developmentally frozen in an immature state throughout larval life, to be awakened at metamorphosis by a process we term temporally-tuned differentiation. These multiple forms of remodeling arise from subtype-specific responses to a single metamorphic trigger, ecdysone. Here, we discuss recent progress in Drosophila melanogaster that is shedding light on how subtype-specific programs of neuronal remodeling are generated during metamorphosis.

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