The remodeling of neurons is a conserved fundamental mechanism underlying nervous system maturation and function. Astrocytes can clear neuronal debris and they have an active role in neuronal remodeling. Developmental axon pruning of Drosophila memory center neurons occurs via a degenerative process mediated by infiltrating astrocytes. However, how astrocytes are recruited to the axons during brain development is unclear. Using an unbiased screen, we identify the gene requirement of orion, encoding for a chemokine-like protein, in the developing mushroom bodies. Functional analysis shows that Orion is necessary for both axonal pruning and removal of axonal debris. Orion performs its functions extracellularly and bears some features common to chemokines, a family of chemoattractant cytokines. We propose that Orion is a neuronal signal that elicits astrocyte infiltration and astrocyte-driven axonal engulfment required during neuronal remodeling in the Drosophila developing brain.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)