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  • MANF silencing, immunity induction or autophagy trigger an unusual cell type in metamorphosing Drosophila brain.

MANF silencing, immunity induction or autophagy trigger an unusual cell type in metamorphosing Drosophila brain.

Cellular and molecular life sciences : CMLS (2014-12-17)
Vassilis Stratoulias, Tapio I Heino
ABSTRACT

Glia are abundant cells in the brain of animals ranging from flies to humans. They perform conserved functions not only in neural development and wiring, but also in brain homeostasis. Here we show that by manipulating gene expression in glia, a previously unidentified cell type appears in the Drosophila brain during metamorphosis. More specifically, this cell type appears in three contexts: (1) after the induction of either immunity, or (2) autophagy, or (3) by silencing of neurotrophic factor DmMANF in glial cells. We call these cells MANF immunoreactive Cells (MiCs). MiCs are migratory based on their shape, appearance in brain areas where no cell bodies exist and the nuclear localization of dSTAT. They are labeled with a unique set of molecular markers including the conserved neurotrophic factor DmMANF and the transcription factor Zfh1. They possess the nuclearly localized protein Relish, which is the hallmark of immune response activation. They also express the conserved engulfment receptor Draper, therefore indicating that they are potentially phagocytic. Surprisingly, they do not express any of the common glial and neuronal markers. In addition, ultrastructural studies show that MiCs are extremely rich in lysosomes. Our findings reveal critical molecular and functional components of an unusual cell type in the Drosophila brain. We suggest that MiCs resemble macrophages/hemocytes and vertebrate microglia based on their appearance in the brain upon genetically challenged conditions and the expression of molecular markers. Interestingly, macrophages/hemocytes or microglia-like cells have not been reported in the fly nervous system before.

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