Asynchronous transcription and translation of neurotransmitter-related genes characterize the initial stages of neuronal maturation in Drosophila

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Abstract

Neuron specification and maturation are essential for proper central nervous system development. However, the precise mechanisms that govern neuronal maturation, essential to shape and maintain neuronal circuitry, remain poorly understood. Here, we analyse early-born secondary neurons in the Drosophila larval brain, revealing that the early maturation of secondary neurons goes through 3 consecutive phases: (1) Immediately after birth, neurons express pan-neuronal markers but do not transcribe terminal differentiation genes; (2) Transcription of terminal differentiation genes, such as neurotransmitter-related genes VGlut, ChAT, or Gad1, starts shortly after neuron birth, but these transcripts are, however, not translated; (3) Translation of neurotransmitter-related genes only begins several hours later in mid-pupa stages in a coordinated manner with animal developmental stage, albeit in an ecdysone-independent manner. These results support a model where temporal regulation of transcription and translation of neurotransmitter-related genes is an important mechanism to coordinate neuron maturation with brain development.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere3002115
Pages (from-to)e3002115
JournalPLoS biology
Volume21
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023

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