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Rebirth of Phoenix: a “neural remodeling” study from Hung-Hsiang Yu laboratory published in《Current Biology》|Institute of Cellular and Organismic Biology, Academia Sinica


Rebirth of Phoenix: a “neural remodeling” study from Hung-Hsiang Yu laboratory published in《Current Biology》

Rebirth of Phoenix – identity crisis under neural remodeling

Despite that our brain is functional in the toddler age, the functional construction of our brain is underway throughout the childhood and adolescence. For insects like butterflies and fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) which experience different life cycles with the larval-to-adult transition, their nervous systems undergo the drastic modification during metamorphosis. Take the Drosophila nervous system as an example: neurons would undergo apoptosis (or known as programmed cell death) to disappear or remodeling to transform into adult-specific ones (the process reminiscent of the rebirth of the legendary Phoenix). During the remodeling process, axons of gamma (γ) neurons (located in the learning and memory center) are trimmed out first (axon pruning) and followed by the regrowth to become the characteristic adult morphology. Previous studies have shown that ecdysone (the insect molting hormone) signaling is critical for γ neuron remodeling. A recent study (published in “Current Biology”) conducted by the collaboration of Hung-Hsiang Yu laboratory (ICOB, Academia Sinica) and Tzumin Lee laboratory (Janelia Research Campus, HHMI) disclosed the unsolved mystery related to the γ neuron remodeling process. First, ecdysone signaling triggers a de-differentiation like event in γ neurons to facilitate the proceeding of remodeling. However, the dilemma is that the memory neuronal identity also becomes lost in γ neurons during this operation. Intriguingly, a BTB-zinc finger transcription factor, Mamo, intuitively restores the identity for γ neurons to transform into morphologically-distinct (from the larval stage) memory neurons in the adult brain.

The first author of this study is Dr. Yen-Wei Lai and other co-authors in Hung-Hsiang Yu laboratory include Soa-Yu Chu and Hung-Hsiang Yu.

This study is supported by the Institute of Cellular and Organismic Biology at Academia Sinica and the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan.

Article title:Hormone-controlled changes in the differentiation state of post-mitotic neurons.

Link to the full article:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2022.04.027

larval → ecdysone signaling → papal → Mamo → eclosed