Dendrite arborization patterns are critical determinants of neuronal function. To explore the basis of transcriptional regulation in dendrite pattern formation, we used RNA interference (RNAi) to screen 730 transcriptional regulators and identified 78 genes involved in patterning the stereotyped dendritic arbors of class I da neurons in Drosophila. Most of these transcriptional regulators affect dendrite morphology without altering the number of class I dendrite arborization (da) neurons and fall primarily into three groups. Group A genes control both primary dendrite extension and lateral branching, hence the overall dendritic field. Nineteen genes within group A act to increase arborization, whereas 20 other genes restrict dendritic coverage. Group B genes appear to balance dendritic outgrowth and branching. Nineteen group B genes function to promote branching rather than outgrowth, and two others have the opposite effects. Finally, 10 group C genes are critical for the routing of the dendritic arbors of individual class I da neurons. Thus, multiple genetic programs operate to calibrate dendritic coverage, to coordinate the elaboration of primary versus secondary branches, and to lay out these dendritic branches in the proper orientation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Biology