Temporal patterning of neural progenitors leads to the sequential production of diverse neurons. To understand how extrinsic cues influence intrinsic temporal programs, we studied Drosophila mushroom body progenitors (neuroblasts) that sequentially produce only three neuronal types: g, then a’b’, followed by ab. Opposing gradients of two RNA-binding proteins Imp and Syp comprise the intrinsic temporal program. Extrinsic activin signaling regulates the production of a’b’ neurons but whether it affects the intrinsic temporal program was not known. We show that the activin ligand Myoglianin from glia regulates the temporal factor Imp in mushroom body neuroblasts. Neuroblasts missing the activin receptor Baboon have a delayed intrinsic program as Imp is higher than normal during the a’b’ temporal window, causing the loss of a’b’ neurons, a decrease in ab neurons, and a likely increase in g neurons, without affecting the overall number of neurons produced. Our results illustrate that an extrinsic cue modifies an intrinsic temporal program to increase neuronal diversity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)