Retrograde Gbb signaling through the Bmp type 2 receptor wishful thinking regulates systemic FMRFa expression in Drosophila

Guillermo Marques, Theodore E. Haerry, M. Lisa Crotty, Mingshan Xue, Bing Zhang, Michael B. O'Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations

Abstract

Amidated neuropeptides of the FMRFamide class regulate numerous physiological processes including synaptic efficacy at the Drosophila neuromuscular junction (NMJ). We demonstrate here that mutations in wishful thinking (wit) a gene encoding a Drosophila Bmp type 2 receptor that is required for proper neurotransmitter release at the neuromuscular junction, also eliminates expression of FMRFa in that subset of neuroendocrine cells (Tv neurons) which provide the systemic supply of FMRFa peptides. We show that Gbb, a Bmp ligand expressed in the neurohemal organ provides a retrograde signal that helps specify the peptidergic phenotype of the Tv neurons. Finally, we show that supplying FMRFa in neurosecretory cells partially rescues the wit lethal phenotype without rescuing the primary morphological or electrophysiological defects of wit mutants. We propose that Wit and Gbb globally regulate NMJ function by controlling both the growth and transmitter release properties of the synapse as well as the expression of systemic modulators of NMJ synaptic activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5457-5470
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopment
Volume130
Issue number22
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2003

Keywords

  • FMRFamide
  • Neurohemal organ
  • Neuromuscular junction

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