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Front. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnins.2019.00244

Expressional profiling of carpet glia in the developing Drosophila eye reveals its molecular signature of morphology regulators

 Tsung-Ying Ho1,  Wei-Hang Wu1, Sheng-Jou Hung2, Tsunglin Liu2, Yuan-Ming Lee3 and  Ya-Hsin Liu1*
  • 1Department of Life Sciences, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan
  • 2Department of Biotechnology and Bioindustry Sciences, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan
  • 3Institute of Molecular Biology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan

Homeostasis in the nervous system requires intricate regulation and is largely accomplished by the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The major gate keeper of the vertebrate BBB is vascular endothelial cells which form tight junctions (TJs). To gain insight into the development of the BBB, we studied the carpet glia, a subperineurial glial cell type with vertebrate TJ-equivalent septate junctions, in the developing Drosophila eye. The large and flat, sheet-like carpet glia, which extends along the developing eye following neuronal differentiation, serves an easily accessible experimental system for understanding the cell types exhibiting barrier function. We profiled transcribed genes in the carpet glia using targeted DNA adenine methyl-transferase identification followed by next-generation sequencing (targeted DamID-seq) and found that the majority of genes expressed in the carpet glia function in cellular activities related to its dynamic morphological changes in the developing eye. To unravel the morphology regulators, we silenced genes selected from the carpet glia transcriptome using RNA interference. The Rho1 gene encoding a GTPase was previously reported as a key regulator of the actin cytoskeleton. The expression of the pathetic (path) gene encoding a solute carrier transporter in the developing eye is specific to the carpet glia. Reduced expression of Rho1 severely disrupted the formation of intact carpet glia, and silencing path impaired the connection between the two carpet glial cells, indicating the pan-cellular and local effects of Rho1 and Path on carpet glial cell morphology, respectively. Our study molecularly characterizes a particular subperineurial cell type and provides a resource for further understanding of the cell types comprising the BBB.

Keywords: carpet glia, Subperineurial glia, Blood-Brain Barrier, target DamID, Transcriptome

Received: 23 Nov 2018; Accepted: 01 Mar 2019.

Edited by:

Michael F. Miles, Virginia Commonwealth University, United States

Reviewed by:

Leonard Rabinow, Université Paris-Sud, France
Subhabrata Sanyal, California Life Company (Calico), United States
Ken Moberg, Emory University School of Medicine, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Ho, Wu, Hung, Liu, Lee and Liu. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: PhD. Ya-Hsin Liu, Department of Life Sciences, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan,