The Drosophila Hem/Kette/Nap1 protein regulates asymmetric division of neural precursor cells by regulating localization of Inscuteable and Numb

Zengrong Zhu, Krishna Moorthi Bhat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


The Hem/Kette/Nap1 protein is involved in many biological processes. We have recently reported that Hem is required for the normal migration of neurons in the Drosophila embryo. In this paper, we report that Hem regulates the asymmetric division of neural precursor cells. We find that a well-studied Hem/Kette mutant allele produces at least two main, but possibly more, phenotypic classes of mutant embryos, and these phenotypes correlate with variable levels of maternal wild type Hem protein in the developing embryo. While the weaker class exhibits weak axon guidance defect and the mis-migration of neurons, the stronger class causes severe axon guidance defects, mis-migration of neurons and symmetric division of ganglion mother cells (GMC) of the RP2/sib lineage. We also show that the basis for the loss of asymmetric division is due to non-localization of Inscuteable and Numb in GMC-1. A non-asymmetric Numb segregates to both daughter cells of GMC-1, which then prevents Notch signaling from specifying a sib fate. This causes both cells to adopt an RP2 fate. Furthermore, loss of function for Abelson tyrosine kinase also causes loss of asymmetric localization of Inscuteable and Numb and symmetric division of GMC-1, the loss of function for WAVE has a very weakly penetrant loss of asymmetry defect. These results define another role for Hem/Kette/Nap1 in a neural precursor cell during neurogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)483-495
Number of pages13
JournalMechanisms of Development
Issue number7-10
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011



  • Asymmetric division
  • Drosophila
  • Hem protein
  • WAVE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Embryology
  • Developmental Biology

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