Not all neurons are created equally…today’s image is from a paper describing a pathway that regulates the differentiation of specialized neurons in the fruit fly Drosophila.
During development, cells are instructed to differentiate into specialized cell types. Although a lot of the signals that participate in this process a known, the exact mechanism for each cell type is not. A recent paper describes the differentiation of Drosophila mechanosensory neurons, which have specialized dendrites with cilia that help mediate sensory perception. The results in this paper show how proneural factors lead to downstream signals that direct the differentiation of these specialized neurons and their ciliary dendrites. Image above shows five of these mechanosensory neurons.