Gradients of the Drosophila Chinmo BTB-zinc finger protein govern neuronal temporal identity

UMMS Affiliation

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

Publication Date


Document Type



5' Untranslated Regions; Amino Acid Sequence; Animals; Brain; Cell Differentiation; Cell Lineage; Drosophila; Drosophila Proteins; Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental; Larva; Molecular Sequence Data; Morphogenesis; Mushroom Bodies; Mutation; Nerve Tissue Proteins; *Neurons; *Protein Processing, Post-Translational; Time Factors; Transgenes; *Zinc Fingers


Neuroscience and Neurobiology


Many neural progenitors, including Drosophila mushroom body (MB) and projection neuron (PN) neuroblasts, sequentially give rise to different subtypes of neurons throughout development. We identified a novel BTB-zinc finger protein, named Chinmo (Chronologically inappropriate morphogenesis), that governs neuronal temporal identity during postembryonic development of the Drosophila brain. In both MB and PN lineages, loss of Chinmo autonomously causes early-born neurons to adopt the fates of late-born neurons from the same lineages. Interestingly, primarily due to a posttranscriptional control, MB neurons born at early developmental stages contain more abundant Chinmo than their later-born siblings. Further, the temporal identity of MB progeny can be transformed toward earlier or later fates by reducing or increasing Chinmo levels, respectively. Taken together, we suggest that a temporal gradient of Chinmo (Chinmo(high) --> Chinmo(low)) helps specify distinct birth order-dependent cell fates in an extended neuronal lineage.

DOI of Published Version



Cell. 2006 Oct 20;127(2):409-22. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title



Co-author Suewei Lin is a student in the Neuroscience program in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) at UMass Medical School.

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