Image_1_Misregulation of Drosophila Sidestep Leads to Uncontrolled Wiring of the Adult Neuromuscular System and Severe Locomotion Defects.JPEG
Holometabolic organisms undergo extensive remodelling of their neuromuscular system during metamorphosis. Relatively, little is known whether or not the embryonic guidance of molecules and axonal growth mechanisms are re-activated for the innervation of a very different set of adult muscles. Here, we show that the axonal attractant Sidestep (Side) is re-expressed during Drosophila metamorphosis and is indispensable for neuromuscular wiring. Mutations in side cause severe innervation defects in all legs. Neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) show a reduced density or are completely absent at multi-fibre muscles. Misinnervation strongly impedes, but does not completely abolish motor behaviours, including walking, flying, or grooming. Overexpression of Side in developing muscles induces similar innervation defects; for example, at indirect flight muscles, it causes flightlessness. Since muscle-specific overexpression of Side is unlikely to affect the central circuits, the resulting phenotypes seem to correlate with faulty muscle wiring. We further show that mutations in beaten path Ia (beat), a receptor for Side, results in similar weaker adult innervation and locomotion phenotypes, indicating that embryonic guidance pathways seem to be reactivated during metamorphosis.