News & Events

Gene mutation responsible for separation of brain hemispheres


A gene mutation is responsible for keeping the two hemispheres of fruit flies separate and preventing the information exchange between right and left hemispheres. This is what a working group around Rashmit Kaur and Thomas Hummel from the Department of Neurobiology at the University of Vienna found out in a recent study.

Actually, we have two brains in our head, one on the right and one on the left. However, these two structurally identical hemispheres work so closely together that neuronal information is not only represented in the entire brain, but can also be analyzed in different ways in both halves. Decisive for this rapid bilateral data transfer are hundreds of millions of nerve connections that connect the two hemispheres in thick cables - the so-called commissures. Many human neuronal diseases are due to less training or even the loss of these commissures. However, the cellular and molecular causes are largely unknown. The research group headed by Thomas Hummel at the Department of Neurobiology at the University of Vienna uses the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster to better understand the genetic regulation of brain development. As in humans, a large number of commissures are also formed in Drosophila for the exchange of information between right and left hemispheres. [more]

Publication in Science Advances: Pioneer interneurons instruct bilaterality in the Drosophila olfactory sensory map R. Kaur; M. Surala; S. Hoger; N. Grössmann, A. Grimm; L. Timaeus; W. Kallina; T. Hummel Doi: sciadv.aaw5537



The brain of Drosophila has about 100,000 nerve cells, which are interconnected in complex networks. © Rashmit Kaur