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Genetic analysis of the maintenance of neuronal morphology in Drosophila melanogaster

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dc.contributor.advisor Paul A. Garrity. en_US
dc.contributor.author Whited, Jessica LaMae, 1976- en_US
dc.contributor.other Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Biology. en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2007-09-27T20:14:29Z
dc.date.available 2007-09-27T20:14:29Z
dc.date.copyright 2006 en_US
dc.date.issued 2006 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/34577 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/34577
dc.description Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Biology, 2006. en_US
dc.description Vita. en_US
dc.description Includes bibliographical references. en_US
dc.description.abstract Precise control of cellular morphology is critical for both the development and maintenance of nervous systems. In the developing Drosophila eye, normal photoreceptor cells establish and maintain a highly polarized architecture, with cell bodies and nuclei located apically in the epithelium, and axons extending basally into the brain. Disruption of the Dynactin complex, which activates the minus-end-directed microtubule motor protein Dynein, causes mislocalization of photoreceptor nuclei basally, even into the optic stalk and brain. Photoreceptors in animals mutant for the Dynactin subunit Glued retain apical markers, but have a bipolar-like morphology with the cell body translocated toward the brain and an apical process extending to the surface of the eye disc. Dynactin is required post-mitotically to maintain proper nuclear positioning. Using a genetic screen, I identified loss-of-function alleles of kinesin heavy chain, encoding a subunit of the plus-end-directed microtubule motor Kinesin, as suppressors of the rough eye and nuclear mispositioning in Glued mutants. Thus, a balance of minus-end-directed and plus-end-directed microtubule motor forces may be required to maintain nuclear position within postmitotic neurons. en_US
dc.description.abstract (cont.) Establishment and maintenance of complex axonal trajectories is also a key feature of neuronal mophology. I identified a requirement for a novel cytoplasmic tyrosine phosphatase, PTPMEG, in these processes. Normal mushroom bodies, structures critical for insect learning and memory, have dorsally-projecting alpha lobe and medially-projecting beta lobe axons. Alpha lobes develop normally in ptpmeg mutants, but their pattern is not maintained. Instead, alpha lobe axons retract during pupation, resulting in thin and/or shortened alpha lobes. Meanwhile, beta lobe axons overextend at the midline. Removing ptpmeg function in mushroom bodies does not cause mutant phenotypes. ptpmeg mutants are rescued by pan-neuronal expression of wild-type Ptpmeg, but not by versions with disrupted phosphatase activity. These data suggest that Ptpmeg activity is required in another type of neuron to prevent mushroom body axon retraction. Ellipsoid body axons normally form a ring structure in the central brain. In ptpmeg mutants, the ellipsoid body axons develop abnormally, with the ventral side of the ring being discontinuous; the defect can be rescued by expression of wild-type Ptpmeg pan-neuronally. en_US
dc.description.statementofresponsibility by Jessica LaMae Whited. en_US
dc.format.extent 251 p. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher Massachusetts Institute of Technology en_US
dc.rights M.I.T. theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission. See provided URL for inquiries about permission. en_US
dc.rights.uri http://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/34577 en_US
dc.rights.uri http://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/7582
dc.subject Biology. en_US
dc.title Genetic analysis of the maintenance of neuronal morphology in Drosophila melanogaster en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.description.degree Ph.D. en_US
dc.contributor.department Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Biology. en_US
dc.identifier.oclc 71205307 en_US


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