Mechanisms of asymmetric progenitor divisions in the Drosophila central nervous system

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

23 Citations (Scopus)


The Drosophila central nervous system develops from polarised asymmetric divisions of precursor cells, called neuroblasts. Decades of research on neuroblasts have resulted in a substantial understanding of the factors and molecular events responsible for fate decisions of neuroblasts and their progeny. Furthermore, the cell-cycle dependent mechanisms responsible for asymmetric cortical protein localisation, resulting in the unequal partitioning between daughters, are beginning to be exposed. Disruption to the appropriate partitioning of proteins between neuroblasts and differentiation-committed daughters can lead to supernumerary neuroblast-like cells and the formation of tumours. Many of the factors responsible for regulating asymmetric division of Drosophila neuroblasts are evolutionarily conserved and, in many cases, have been shown to play a functionally conserved role in mammalian neurogenesis. Recent genome-wide studies coupled with advancements in live-imaging technologies have opened further avenues of research into neuroblast biology. We review our current understanding of the molecular mechanisms regulating neuroblast divisions, a powerful system to model mammalian neurogenesis and tumourigenesis.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTranscriptional and Translational Regulation of Stem Cells
Subtitle of host publicationPart I
EditorsGary Hime, Helen Abud
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
ISBN (Electronic)9789400766211
ISBN (Print)9789400766204
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019


  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Central Nervous System
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neural Stem Cells
  • Neurons
  • Signal Transduction


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