Trim9 regulates activity-dependent fine-scale topography in Drosophila

Student Author(s)

Kendra Takle

Academic Program


UMMS Affiliation

Department of Neurobiology; Yang Xiang Lab; Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Neuroscience Program

Publication Date


Document Type



Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience


Topographic projection of afferent terminals into 2D maps in the CNS is a general strategy used by the nervous system to encode the locations of sensory stimuli. In vertebrates, it is known that although guidance cues are critical for establishing a coarse topographic map, neural activity directs fine-scale topography between adjacent afferent terminals [1-4]. However, the molecular mechanism underlying activity-dependent regulation of fine-scale topography is poorly understood. Molecular analysis of the spatial relationship between adjacent afferent terminals requires reliable localization of the presynaptic terminals of single neurons as well as genetic manipulations with single-cell resolution in vivo. Although both requirements can potentially be met in Drosophila melanogaster [5, 6], no activity-dependent topographic system has been identified in flies [7]. Here we report a topographic system that is shaped by neuronal activity in Drosophila. With this system, we found that topographic separation of the presynaptic terminals of adjacent nociceptive neurons requires different levels of Trim9, an evolutionarily conserved signaling molecule [8-11]. Neural activity regulates Trim9 protein levels to direct fine-scale topography of sensory afferents. This study offers both a novel mechanism by which neural activity directs fine-scale topography of axon terminals and a new system to study this process at single-neuron resolution.

DOI of Published Version



Curr Biol. 2014 May 5;24(9):1024-30. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.03.041. Epub 2014 Apr 17. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Current biology : CB

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID