Extensive use of RNA-binding proteins in drosophila sensory neuron dendrite morphogenesis

Eugenia C. Olesnicky, Darrell J. Killian, Evelyn Garcia, Mary C. Morton, Alan R. Rathjen, Ismail E. Sola, Elizabeth R. Gavis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The large number of RNA-binding proteins and translation factors encoded in the Drosophila and other metazoan genomes predicts widespread use of post-transcriptional regulation in cellular and developmental processes. Previous studies identified roles for several RNA-binding proteins in dendrite branching morphogenesis of Drosophila larval sensory neurons. To determine the larger contribution of post-transcriptional gene regulation to neuronal morphogenesis, we conducted an RNA interference screen to identify additional Drosophila proteins annotated as either RNA-binding proteins or translation factors that function in producing the complex dendritic trees of larval class IV dendritic arborization neurons. We identified 88 genes encoding such proteins whose knockdown resulted in aberrant dendritic morphology, including alterations in dendritic branch number, branch length, field size, and patterning of the dendritic tree. In particular, splicing and translation initiation factors were associated with distinct and characteristic phenotypes, suggesting that different morphogenetic events are best controlled at specific steps in post-transcriptional messenger RNA metabolism. Many of the factors identified in the screen have been implicated in controlling the subcellular distributions and translation of maternal messenger RNAs; thus, common post-transcriptional regulatory strategies may be used in neurogenesis and in the generation of asymmetry in the female germline and embryo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-306
Number of pages10
JournalG3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology


  • Dendrite morphogenesis
  • Dendritic arborization neuron
  • Drosophila
  • Posttranscriptional regulation
  • RNA-binding proteins
  • RNAi screen


Dive into the research topics of 'Extensive use of RNA-binding proteins in drosophila sensory neuron dendrite morphogenesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this