GSBS Student Publications


Glial cell biology in Drosophila and vertebrates

Student Author(s)

Johnna Doherty

GSBS Program


UMMS Affiliation

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



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Animals; Drosophila; Humans; Nervous System Physiology; Neuroglia; Neurons; Vertebrates


Neuroscience and Neurobiology


Glia are the most abundant cell type in the mammalian nervous system and they have vital roles in neural development, function and health. However our understanding of the biology of glia is in its infancy. How do glia develop and interact with neurons? How diverse are glial populations? What are the primary functions of glia in the mature nervous system? These questions can be addressed incisively in the Drosophila nervous system--this contains relatively few glia, which are well-defined histologically and amenable to powerful molecular-genetic analyses. Here, we highlight several developmental, morphological and functional similarities between Drosophila and vertebrate glia. The striking parallels that emerge from this comparison argue that invertebrate model organisms such as Drosophila have excellent potential to add to our understanding of fundamental aspects of glial biology.

Rights and Permissions

Citation: Trends Neurosci. 2006 Feb;29(2):82-90. Epub 2006 Jan 10. Link to article on publisher's site

DOI of Published Version


Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

Journal Title

Trends in neurosciences

PubMed ID