Steroid hormone regulation of neuronal remodeling in Drosophila
Small, Katherine R.
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This thesis describes the role that the steroid hormone ecdysone plays in the regulation of neuronal remodeling. In Drosophila, ecdysone binds to the ecdysone receptor (EcR), which has three protein isoforms, EcR-A, B1 and B2 which previous studies have indicated are involved in the process of neuronal remodeling. The dendrites of neurons are originally extensively branched and as the development of the organism progresses, the dendrites are pruned back and then re-grow to establish new adult specific connections. I examined neuronal remodeling in the thoracic ventral (Tv) neurons of EcR-A mutants by using confocal microscopy. I found that EcR-A is not required for initial dendritic growth nor for dendritic pruning but that EcR-A is required for dendritic re-growth. EcR-A mutants are also not developmentally delayed. Overall, this dissertation has clarified the role of EcR-A in neuronal re-growth, further showing the importance of hormonal signaling in the regulation of developmental processes.