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Development of Motoneurons

How can a stem cell generate Motoneurons with different morphologies during development? 












           2016  Drosophila Image Award Finalist

The rhythmic and precise pattern of locomotion is linked to the coordinate contraction of muscles which are innervated by a complex wiring of axons controlling the timing and the intensity of muscle activity.  The architecture of this precise cabling is built during the morphological differentiation of motoneurons. How can stem cells generate during development the huge diversity of motoneuron morphologies? 

To discover new mechanism controlling the generation of neural diversity trough time we have chosen Lin A as a model system, a lineage producing 60% of all leg motoneurons for which we have powerful genetic tools to visualize its development from the neuroblast stage until the adult. From this objective we combine immunohistochemistry, smFISH and genetic techniques with  computational  approaches.