Linking transcription factors to neuronal connectivity in the Central Complex of Drosophila
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Every neuron in the brain has a specific identity including a key feature called neuronal connectivity, which is defined as how neurons form synaptic pairs. Neurons innervate certain regions of the brain through an attribute of neuronal connectivity known as target specificity. We hypothesize that proteins called Transcription Factors (TFs) bind to DNA to regulate gene expression that determines target specificity. More than 750 TFs are present in the fruit flies, Drosophila melanogaster, but antibodies for only 200 TFs are available. The study was done in the Central Complex (CX) of adult Drosophila. Located in the midbrain, the CX is an ancient conserved brain region critical for insect navigation. The purpose of our study was to identify the post-mitotic TF profile of neurons innervating the adult central complex using antibody screening in flies driven by the binary CX GAL4-UAS system to relate to neuronal connectivity in the CX. Here, we screened 85 TF antibodies in the Central Complex of adult brains. Our results show that 22 TFs from 85 antibodies express in differential densities in the CX. We additionally discovered at least two specific TFs that label single cell types innervating the central complex. This will provide a primary basis for further research on the relationship between specifying neuronal identity and establishing neuronal connectivity. Thus, the results could enhance our understanding of the underlying causes of neuropathological disease.