nanos and pumilio are essential for dendrite morphogenesis in Drosophila peripheral neurons

Bing Ye, Claudia Petritsch, Ira E. Clark, Elizabeth R. Gavis, Lily Yeh Jan, Yuh Nung Jan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

163 Scopus citations


Much attention has focused on dendritic translational regulation of neuronal signaling and plasticity [1, 2]. For example, long-term memory in adult Drosophila requires Pumilio (Pum) [3], an RNA binding protein that interacts with the RNA binding protein Nanos (Nos) to form a localized translation repression complex essential for anterior-posterior body patterning in early embryogenesis [4]. Whether dendrite morphogenesis requires similar translational regulation is unknown. Here we report that nos and pum control the elaboration of high-order dendritic branches of class III and IV, but not class I and II, dendritic arborization (da) neurons. Analogous to their function in body patterning, nos and pum require each other to control dendrite morphogenesis, a process likely to involve translational regulation of nos itself. The control of dendrite morphogenesis by Nos/Pum, however, does not require hunchback, which is essential for body patterning. Interestingly, Nos protein is localized to RNA granules in the dendrites of da neurons, raising the possibility that the Nos/Pum translation repression complex operates in dendrites. This work serves as an entry point for future studies of dendritic translational control of dendrite morphogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-321
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 17 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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