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Temporal and spatial expression of Drosophila Neurexin during the life cycle visualized using a DNRX-Gal4/UAS-reporter


Drosophila neurexin (DNRX) plays a critical role in proper architecture development and synaptic function in vivo. However, the temporal and spatial expression pattern of DNRX still remains unclear. For this study, we generated a novel Drosophila transgenic strain termed the DNRX-Gal4 transgenic line, with characteristic features in agreement with the endogenous DNRX expression pattern. DNRX expression was examined by driving the expression of a GFP reporter (nuclear-localized and membrane- localized GFP) using the DNRX-Gal4 promoter. We found that DNRX was expressed preferentially in central and motor neurons in embryos, larvae and adults, but not in glial cells. DNRX was expressed in pre- and post-synaptic areas in third instar larvae neuromuscular junctions (NMJs). Reporter expression was also observed in the salivary glands, guts, wings and legs of adult flies. In the adult brain, reporter expression was observed throughout several brain regions, including the mushroom body (MBs), antennal lobe (AL) and optic lobe neurons, which is consistent with endogenous DNRX expression via antibody staining. Interestingly, DNRX was also expressed in clock neurons. Meanwhile, we found that DNRX expression in the MBs was required for olfactory learning and memory.


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Correspondence to Mingkuan Sun.

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Sun, M., Zeng, X. & Xie, W. Temporal and spatial expression of Drosophila Neurexin during the life cycle visualized using a DNRX-Gal4/UAS-reporter. Sci. China Life Sci. 59, 68–77 (2016).

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  • Drosophila
  • neurexin
  • Gal4
  • motor neuron
  • NMJs