Classifying Drosophila Olfactory Projection Neuron Subtypes by Single-cell RNA Sequencing [article]

Hongjie Li, Felix Horns, Bing Wu, Qijing Xie, Jiefu Li, Tongchao Li, David Luginbuhl, Stephen R Quake, Liqun Luo
2017 bioRxiv   pre-print
How a neuronal cell type is defined and how this relates to its transcriptome are still open questions. The Drosophila olfactory projection neurons (PNs) are among the best-characterized neuronal types: Different PN classes target dendrites to distinct olfactory glomeruli and PNs of the same class exhibit indistinguishable anatomical and physiological properties. Using single-cell RNA-sequencing, we comprehensively characterized the transcriptomes of 40 PN classes and unequivocally identified
more » ... ocally identified transcriptomes for 6 classes. We found a new lineage-specific transcription factor that instructs PN dendrite targeting. Transcriptomes of closely-related PN classes exhibit the largest difference during circuit assembly, but become indistinguishable in adults, suggesting that neuronal subtype diversity peaks during development. Genes encoding transcription factors and cell-surface molecules are the most differentially expressed, indicating their central roles in specifying neuronal identity. Finally, we show that PNs use highly redundant combinatorial molecular codes to distinguish subtypes, enabling robust specification of cell identity and circuit assembly.
doi:10.1101/145045 fatcat:jxft53ewdvgrjhhakliiymau6a