skip to primary navigationskip to content

08.08.2017 Buffering role for miR-7 in developing optic lobe

last modified Aug 09, 2017 09:01 AM
In this Cell Reports paper, Caygill and Brand present evidence that the transformation of neuroepithelial cells into neural stem cells in the developing optic lobe of the brain is buffered against environmental stress by the microRNA miR-7.

miR-7 buffers differentiation in the developing Drosophila visual system

Elizabeth E. Caygill and Andrea H. Brand (2017) Cell Reports 20, 1255–1261.

DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.07.047


Author’s summary

Many microRNAs have been discovered in different tissues during development but their roles are often unclear. Here we show that the microRNA miR-7 has a specific role in buffering stem cell production in the Drosophila brain under conditions of environmental stress. In the optic lobe, the visual processing centre of the brain, the formation of neural stem cells (neuroblasts) and their progeny (neurons) needs to match that in the eye to coordinate the synaptic connections made between the two organs. We demonstrate that miR-7 enables the timely production of neural stem cells and buffers their generation against environmental stress. 


Summary from the paper

The 40,000 neurons of the medulla, the largest visual processing center of the Drosophila brain, derive from a sheet of neuroepithelial cells. During larval development a wave of differentiation sweeps across the neuroepithelium converting neuroepithelial cells into neuroblasts that sequentially express transcription factors specifying different neuronal cell fates. The switch from neuroepithelial cells to neuroblasts is controlled by a complex gene regulatory network and marked by the expression of the proneural gene l’sc. We discovered that microRNA miR-7 is expressed at the transition between neuroepithelial cells and neuroblasts. We showed that miR-7 promotes neuroepithelial cell to neuroblast transition by targeting downstream Notch effectors to limit Notch signaling. miR-7 acts as a buffer to ensure a precise and stereotypical pattern of transition is maintained even under conditions of environmental stress, echoing the role miR-7 plays in the eye imaginal disc. This common mechanism reflects the importance of robust visual system development.


Read more about research in the Brand lab.

Watch Andrea Brand describe her work in this short video.

Studying development to understand disease

The Gurdon Institute is funded by Wellcome and Cancer Research UK to study the biology of development, and how normal growth and maintenance go wrong in cancer and other diseases.

combinedLogo x3 trans2018


Share this

Extracellular Forms of Aβ and Tau from iPSC Models of Alzheimer's Disease Disrupt Synaptic Plasticity

Combinational Treatment of Trichostatin A and Vitamin C Improves the Efficiency of Cloning Mice by Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer

Predominant Asymmetrical Stem Cell Fate Outcome Limits the Rate of Niche Succession in Human Colonic Crypts

G9a regulates temporal preimplantation developmental program and lineage segregation in blastocyst

Validating the concept of mutational signatures with isogenic cell models

A PAX5-OCT4-PRDM1 developmental switch specifies human primordial germ cells

Targeting NAT10 enhances healthspan and lifespan in a mouse model of human accelerated aging syndrome

An alternative mode of epithelial polarity in the Drosophila midgut

Detection of functional protein domains by unbiased genome-wide forward genetic screening

Fank1 and Jazf1 promote multiciliated cell differentiation in the mouse airway epithelium

Genome organization at different scales: nature, formation and function

Mouse Model of Alagille Syndrome and Mechanisms of Jagged1 Missense Mutations

Cell cycle heterogeneity directs the timing of neural stem cell activation from quiescence

Functional Studies of Missense TREM2 Mutations in Human Stem Cell-Derived Microglia

Extracellular Monomeric and Aggregated Tau Efficiently Enter Human Neurons through Overlapping but Distinct Pathways

Systematic Analysis of the DNA Damage Response Network in Telomere Defective Budding Yeast

Genomic positional conservation identifies topological anchor point RNAs linked to developmental loci








Link to full list on PubMed