Date Published:1998 Nov 25
Photoreceptor axons arriving in the Drosophila brain organize their postsynaptic target field into a precise array of five neuron "cartridge" ensembles. Here we show that Hedgehog, an initial inductive signal transported along retinal axons from the developing eye, induces postsynaptic precursor cells to express the Drosophila homolog of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). The EGFR ligand Spitz, a signal for ommatidial assembly in the compound eye, is transported to retinal axon termini in the brain where it acts as a local cue for the recruitment of five cells into a cartridge ensemble. Hedgehog and Spitz thus bring about the concerted assembly of ommatidial and synaptic cartridge units, imposing the "neurocrystalline" order of the compound eye on the postsynaptic target field.