Combinatorial rules of precursor specification underlying olfactory neuron diversity

Li, Qingyun, Ha, Tal Soo, Okuwa, Sumie, Wang, Yiping, Wang, Qian, Millard, S. Sean, Smith, Dean P. and Volkan, Pelin Cayirlioglu (2013) Combinatorial rules of precursor specification underlying olfactory neuron diversity. Current Biology, 23 24: 2481-2490. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2013.10.053

Author Li, Qingyun
Ha, Tal Soo
Okuwa, Sumie
Wang, Yiping
Wang, Qian
Millard, S. Sean
Smith, Dean P.
Volkan, Pelin Cayirlioglu
Title Combinatorial rules of precursor specification underlying olfactory neuron diversity
Journal name Current Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0960-9822
Publication date 2013-12-16
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2013.10.053
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 23
Issue 24
Start page 2481
End page 2490
Total pages 10
Place of publication Cambridge, United States
Publisher Cell Press
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Sensory neuron diversity ensures optimal detection of the external world and is a hallmark of sensory systems. An extreme example is the olfactory system, as individual olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) adopt unique sensory identities by typically expressing a single receptor gene from a large genomic repertoire. In Drosophila, about 50 different ORN classes are generated from a field of precursor cells, giving rise to spatially restricted and distinct clusters of ORNs on the olfactory appendages. Developmental strategies spawning ORN diversity from an initially homogeneous population of precursors are largely unknown.

Here we unravel the nested and binary logic of the combinatorial code that patterns the decision landscape of precursor states underlying ORN diversity in the Drosophila olfactory system. The transcription factor Rotund (Rn) is a critical component of this code that is expressed in a subset of ORN precursors. Addition of Rn to preexisting transcription factors that assign zonal identities to precursors on the antenna subdivides each zone and almost exponentially increases ORN diversity by branching off novel precursor fates from default ones within each zone. In rn mutants, rn-positive ORN classes are converted to rn-negative ones in a zone-specific manner.

We provide a model describing how nested and binary changes in combinations of transcription factors could coordinate and pattern a large number of distinct precursor identities within a population to modulate the level of ORN diversity during development and evolution.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Biomedical Sciences Publications
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