Irene Miguel-Aliaga

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Autosomal recessive spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is linked to mutations in the survival motor neuron (SMN) gene. The SMN protein has been implicated at several levels of mRNA biogenesis and is expressed ubiquitously. Studies in various model organisms have shown that the loss of function of the SMN gene leads to embryonic lethality. The human contains two(More)
Individual neurons express only one or a few of the many identified neurotransmitters and neuropeptides, but the molecular mechanisms controlling their selection are poorly understood. In the Drosophila ventral nerve cord, the six Tv neurons express the neuropeptide gene FMRFamide. Each Tv neuron resides within a neuronal cell group specified by the(More)
In vertebrates, neurons often undergo apoptosis after differentiating and extending their axons. By contrast, in the developing nervous system of invertebrate embryos apoptosis typically occurs soon after cells are generated. Here, we show that the Drosophila dMP2 and MP1 pioneer neurons undergo segment-specific apoptosis at late embryonic stages, long(More)
The gastrointestinal tract is emerging as a key regulator of appetite and metabolism, but daunting neuroanatomical complexity has hampered identification of the relevant signals. Invertebrate models could provide a simple and genetically amenable alternative, but their autonomic nervous system and its visceral functions remain largely unexplored. Here we(More)
There is a growing interest in the mechanisms that control the apoptosis cascade during development and adult life. To investigate the regulatory events that trigger apoptosis in whole tissues, we have devised a genetically encoded caspase sensor that can be detected in live and fixed tissue by standard confocal microscopy. The sensor comprises two(More)
In the Drosophila nerve cord, a subset of neurons expresses the neuropeptide FMRFamide related (Fmrf). Fmrf expression is controlled by a combinatorial code of intrinsic factors and an extrinsic BMP signal. However, this previously identified code does not fully explain the regulation of Fmrf. We have found that the Dachshund (Dac) and Eyes Absent (Eya)(More)
The digestive tract plays a central role in the digestion and absorption of nutrients. Far from being a passive tube, it provides the first line of defense against pathogens and maintains energy homeostasis by exchanging neuronal and endocrine signals with other organs. Historically neglected, the gut of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has recently(More)
Neuronal specification is often seen as a multistep process: earlier regulators confer broad neuronal identity and are followed by combinatorial codes specifying neuronal properties unique to specific subtypes. However, it is still unclear whether early regulators are re-deployed in subtype-specific combinatorial codes, and whether early patterning events(More)
Insulin and related peptides play important and conserved functions in growth and metabolism. Although Drosophila has proved useful for the genetic analysis of insulin functions, little is known about the transcription factors and cell lineages involved in insulin production. Within the embryonic central nervous system, the MP2 neuroblast divides once to(More)
Sex differences in physiology and disease susceptibility are commonly attributed to developmental and/or hormonal factors, but there is increasing realization that cell-intrinsic mechanisms play important and persistent roles. Here we use the Drosophila melanogaster intestine to investigate the nature and importance of cellular sex in an adult somatic organ(More)