Glia have only recently been recognized as regulators of nervous system development. Here, we aim to systematically determine how glia communicate with developing neurons from neurogenesis through to synaptogenesis. Conservation of biological processes enables us to investigate this question in the fruit fly, where we have unparalleled knowledge of neuronal diversity and circuit formation. We will identify signalling ligand-receptor pairs that are expressed across neighbouring glia and neurons systematically by combining bioinformatic analyses of developmental single cell transcriptomics with multiplexed fluorescent in situ hybridisation to provide spatial context. We will then ask how perturbing these glial signals affects neuronal development.
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Fernandes, V.M., Chen, Z., Rossi, A.M., Zipfel, J. and Desplan, C. Glia relay differentiation cues to coordinate neuronal development in Drosophila. 2017. Science 357:886-891. doi: 10.1126/science.aan3174.
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