Neuroscience Bulletin

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 584–594

Glial cells in neuronal development: recent advances and insights from Drosophila melanogaster

Authors

  • Jiayao Ou
    • Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, School of MedicineTongji University
  • Yijing He
    • Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, School of MedicineTongji University
  • Xi Xiao
    • Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, School of MedicineTongji University
  • Tian-Ming Yu
    • Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, School of MedicineTongji University
  • Changyan Chen
    • School of Life SciencesTongji University
  • Zongbao Gao
    • Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, School of MedicineTongji University
    • Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, School of MedicineTongji University
Review

DOI: 10.1007/s12264-014-1448-2

Cite this article as:
Ou, J., He, Y., Xiao, X. et al. Neurosci. Bull. (2014) 30: 584. doi:10.1007/s12264-014-1448-2

Abstract

Glia outnumber neurons and are the most abundant cell type in the nervous system. Whereas neurons are the major carriers, transducers, and processors of information, glial cells, once considered mainly to play a passive supporting role, are now recognized for their active contributions to almost every aspect of nervous system development. Recently, insights from the invertebrate organism Drosophila melanogaster have advanced our knowledge of glial cell biology. In particular, findings on neuron-glia interactions via intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms have shed light on the importance of glia during different stages of neuronal development. Here, we summarize recent advances in understanding the functions of Drosophila glia, which resemble their mammalian counterparts in morphology and function, neural stem-cell conversion, synapse formation, and developmental axon pruning. These discoveries reinforce the idea that glia are substantial players in the developing nervous system and further advance the understanding of mechanisms leading to neurodegeneration.

Keywords

glia neuronal development Gcm neurodegeneration neural stem cell synapse formation axon pruning

Copyright information

© Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014