Neuron Glia Biology

Research Article

The scoop on the fly brain: glial engulfment functions in Drosophila

Mary A. Logana1 c1 and Marc R. Freemana1

a1 Department of Neurobiology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA

Abstract

Glial cells provide support and protection for neurons in the embryonic and adult brain, mediated in part through the phagocytic activity of glia. Glial cells engulf apoptotic cells and pruned neurites from the developing nervous system, and also clear degenerating neuronal debris from the adult brain after neural trauma. Studies indicate that Drosophila melanogaster is an ideal model system to elucidate the mechanisms of engulfment by glia. The recent studies reviewed here show that many features of glial engulfment are conserved across species and argue that work in Drosophila will provide valuable cellular and molecular insight into glial engulfment activity in mammals.

(Received March 20 2007)

(Revised May 09 2007)

(Accepted May 09 2007)

Correspondence:

c1 Correspondence should be addressed to Mary A. Logan, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Department of Neurobiology 770P, 364 Plantation Street, Worcester, MA 01605, USA phone: +1 508 856 3711 email: mary.logan@umassmed.edu