Genetic Analysis of the Drosophila Ellipsoid Body Neuropil:
Organization and Development of the Central Complex

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Susan C.P. Renn1, J. Douglas Armstrong2*, Mingyao Yang2*, Zongsheng Wang2, Xin An2, Kim Kaiser2, Paul H. Taghert1**

1Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Washington University School of Medicine, 660 S. Euclid Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri 63110
2Division of Molecular Genetics, Anderson College, University of Glasgow, 56 Dumbarton Road, Glasgow G11 6NU, United Kingdom

Originially published in: J. Neurobiol, 41(2):189-207 in press

*These authors contributed equally to this work

**Correspondence: Paul H. Tagert,

Contribution to Flybrain provided by Paul H. Tagert

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The central complex is an important center for higher-order brain function in insects. It is an intricate neuropil composed of four substructures. Each substructure contains repeated neuronal elements which are connected by processes such that topography is maintained. Although the neuronal architecture has been described in several insects and the behavioral role investigated in various experiments, the exact function of this neuropil has proven elusive. To describe the architecture of the central complex, we study 15 enhancer-trap lines that label various ellipsoid body neuron types. We find evidence for restriction of gene expression that is correlated with specific neuronal types: such correlations suggest functional classifications as well. We show that some enhancer-trap patterns reveal a single ellipsoid body neuron type, while others label multiple types. We describe the development of the ellipsoid body neuropil in wild-type animals and propose developmental mechanisms based on animals displaying structural mutations of this neuropil. The experiments performed here demonstrate the degree of resolution possible from the analysis of enhancer-trap lines and form a useful library of tools for future structure/function studies of the ellipsoid body.

Figure 1 - X-Gal Stained Frontal Sections

Figure 2 - Confocal Microscopy of Adult Brains

Figure 3 - X-Gal­Stained Frontal Cryostat Head Sections

Figure 4 - Histochemical Staining of R4-type eb Neurons

Figure 5 - Enhancer-trap Patterns

Figure 6 - Enhancer-trap Expression Patterns

Figure 7 - Enhancer-trap Patterns that Demonstrate the Subdivision of the R4-type eb

Figure 8 - Enhancer Patterns that Demonstrate Segregation of R Neuron Processes within the ltr.

Figure 9 - Development of the eb.

Figure 10 - Schematic Representation of Selected cc Enhancer-trap Lines

Figure 11 - Analysis of eb R Neuron Structures

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