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Sli is required for proper morphology and migration of sensory neurons in the Drosophila PNS

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Neurons and glial cells coordinate with each other in many different aspects of nervous system development. Both types of cells are receiving multiple guidance cues to guide the neurons and glial cells to their proper final position. The lateral chordotonal organs (lch5) of the Drosophila peripheral nervous system (PNS) are composed of five sensory neurons surrounded by four different glial cells, scolopale cells, cap cells, attachment cells and ligament cells. During embryogenesis, the lch5 neurons go through a rotation and ventral migration to reach their final position in the lateral region of the abdomen. We show here that the extracellular ligand sli is required for the proper ventral migration and morphology of the lch5 neurons. We further show that mutations in the Sli receptors Robo and Robo2 also display similar defects as loss of sli, suggesting a role for Slit-Robo signaling in lch5 migration and positioning. Additionally, we demonstrate that the scolopale, cap and attachment cells follow the mis-migrated lch5 neurons in sli mutants, while the ventral stretching of the ligament cells seems to be independent of the lch5 neurons. This study sheds light on the role of Slit-Robo signaling in sensory neuron development.

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Gonsior, M., & Ismat, A. (2019). Sli is required for proper morphology and migration of sensory neurons in the Drosophila PNS. Neural Development, 14(1).

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